‘G.B.F.’: Teen comedy wittier in pink
By MISHA DAVENPORT For Sun-Times Media January 16, 2014 7:44PM
Taylor Frey (from left), Andrew Bowen, Xosha Roquemore, Michael J. Willett and Sasha Pieterse in "G.B.F." | Vertical Entertainment
Tanner Michael J. Willett
Fawcett Sasha Pieterse
’Shley Andrea Bowen
Caprice Xosha Roquemore
Vertical Entertainment presents a film directed by Darren Stein and written by George Northy. Running time: 92 minutes. Rated R (for sexual references). Opens Friday at Facets Cinematheque.
Updated: February 18, 2014 6:04AM
If the late John Hughes ever made a teen comedy from the point of view of a gay teenager, it might look something like “G.B.F.”
Michael J. Willet (“The Unites States of Tara”) stars as Tanner. After accidentally being outed in school, Tanner finds himself the unwitting prize in a high school turf war as popular girls vie for his friendship.
Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse from “Pretty Little Liars”) is the pretty blonde with killer hair and a surprising knack for chemistry. ’Shley (Andrea Bowen, Julie from “Desperate Housewives”) is a good-natured Mormon girl with a wild streak. Caprice (Xosha Roquemore, Tamra from “The Mindy Project” ) is the school’s resident drama queen. Their cliques all want Tanner as this season’s must-have accessory, the G.B.F. (gay best friend).
Tanner’s new-found popularity does not sit well with his best friend Brent (Paul Iacono from MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger”), who finds himself now the second fiddle and immediately plots Tanner’s downfall.
The film also features a number of scene-stealing turns by the likes of Jonathan Silverman and Rebecca Gayheart (as Tanner’s supportive dad and stepmom), Natasha Lyonne (as a Gay/Straight Alliance faculty advisor) and Megan Mullally, particularly hysterical attempting to cheer up her son Brent by hosting a gay movie night and providing ongoing commentary during “Brokeback Mountain.”
The film was one of the highlights of 2013’s Reeling LGBT International Film Festival. Controversy over its R rating, for the sort of language one hears on TV during prime time, has helped bring attention to the independent film.
“G.B.F.” is a colorful, well-acted comedy in the vein of “Mean Girls,” “Better Off Dead” and “Jawbreaker” (the latter also directed by “G.B.F.” director Darren Stein). It’s cheery but still has a bit of a bite, makes a point without ever being too preachy and features a litany of quotable lines with a cleverness not seen since “Heathers.”