Posted by Alia Haddad on April 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Darren Stein’s G.B.F. was the first movie I saw at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Given its 10:15 AM screening time, I was just happy that I had something light on the books, especially since The Kill Team was next on my list (check back soon for that review). Stein has not directed much since his late 90s hit, Jawbreaker–only one short and one documentary to be exact–but this did not matter too much to me, since his claim to fame, Jawbreaker that is, was one of my favorites for many years. I know, I too am not sure if this is a good or a thing; but either way, it doesn’t matter. Darren Stein will always be the man who made that oh-so-personally-influential teen flick about three popular girls whose plan to kidnap the prom queen goes quickly awry.
And for that reason alone, I went to go see G.B.F., his latest film that documents the desire of the three, er, most popular girls in high school to have a gay best friend (g.b.f.). Once potential gay best friend is accidentally outed, the three girls in question pounce on the opportunity to to have the most desirable arm candy in school in the eventual hopes of being name prom queen. I suspect a trend here, Stein. My only hope after watching this is that this doesn’t become a whole new generation’s personally-influential teen flick. Let me be clear: this ain’t no Jawbreaker.
Now that you know the basic plot, I can get into the specifics. First, as I had been anticipating, G.B.F. was light. How light? Almost marshmallow-fluff light, revealing that not all lights are created equally. I would believe you if you had told me that every ounce of dialogue spoken by one the teenage characters was in the form of some abbreviation or another. It was like watching a movie scripted by Diablo Cody on speed, i.e. not fun. I am not sure if this was an attempt at being realistic or sarcastic, either way, I felt just generally irritated the whole time.
Second, the film felt slightly dated, while its point was anything but. In trying to relate to the newest trend amongst high school popular kids of having a g.b.f. (his words, not mine, most definitely not mine), he made a movie that came years too late. Right? Or did my liberal big city upbringing just make it seem that way? Third, just how old were these high school students? It felt like I was watching 30 years old. So imagine my surprise when IMDB reveals that the oldest high school student in the film is 23.
None of these points, however, were that surprising. I mean, there was no false advertising here. I knew what I was getting into. What was more inexcusable thought was the film’s downright offensiveness. Read like a white, middle-class redemption piece on how America treats gays and lesbians from childhood on, I for one did not find it endearing that the three female leads found it in their hearts to take the outed student under their wing to show him the ropes and how to be a desirable gay (best friend).
If you can look past this issue, then the movie did have some good qualities. Mainly Megan Mullally who spends a scene attempting to bond with her recently outed son by watching Brokeback Mountain. I also liked the throwback to Jawbreaker by including Rebecca Gayheart in the lineup. Finally, the acting from the younger generation definitely wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. Andrea Bowen, Sasha Pieterse, and Xosha Roquemore all gave believable performances as their high school’s it girls, and Michael J. Willet was quite endearing as their g.b.f.
All in all, I wouldn’t waste your precious 12 dollars on this film, especially if you are easily offended (which I am not, think about it).
SKIP IT (or if you must, RENT IT).