G.B.F. Review | BFI Flare 2014

My first thought when G.B.F. started was… my god, those students dress with more spirit, imagination and sass than my entire graduating class. Painting that Mean Girls picture of school kids with such an extensive wardrobe that they don’t need to wear the same underwear twice, let alone a dress or jeans. The wardrobe sets the bar for the rest of the film, which while based in a high school and dealing with some relevant issues (whether they should be relevant or not, I’ll get onto that), is somewhat out of this world. That’s mostly a good thing and makes for an enjoyable teen movie I want to watch again for the jokes I missed while I was laughing at other jokes or discussing the heels in the gym scenario.

Set in an L.A. high school, that I can only presume is brand spanking new due to the metal and shiny modern corridors, we meet Tanner (Michael J Willett) and Brent (Paul Iacano), two gay youngsters who are talking with their friends about coming out, the pros and cons. The pros and the cons both come down to the attention they will receive, negative from those darn jocks and unduly positive from the clique elite who have deemed a G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) as the ultimate accessory to help them win the role of Prom Queen. Brent is ready for G.B.F. fame, Tanner less so, which in typical teen movie fashion means he will inevitable be outed and gain all the fame, whether he initially wants it or not. Cue friendship groups collapsing, frappachino aided makeover montages and teenage soul searching. The clique elite make up the rest of the ensemble leads – mean girl Fawcett, drama queen Caprice and Mormon goodie-two-shoes ‘Shley, (great names right?) and they all have a little chick flick journey all their own – Fawcett reveals she’s not actually that much of a bitch, ‘Shley tries not being so good and quite likes it and Caprice learns she’s totally okay with being mistaken for a transvestite by Brent’s liberal Mum (a sweet and charming performance from Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally).

There are familiar faces aplenty in the film- Andrea Bowen from Desperate Housewives plays ‘Shley (check out my interview with her); Evanna Lynch from the Harry Potter films is on baddie duties as the unmovably anti-homo Mormon; teen popstar Joanna “JoJo” Levesque plays lead of the LGBT-less high school LGBT support group who hunts some down with a Grindr-esque app; and Natasha Lyonne pops up as a well meaning, if slightly disturbing teacher.

G.B.F. is a lot of harmless fun so I was somewhat surprised that the film has been rated 15 in the UK. To most people this film will be exactly what it is – a teen comedy romp that tails off into chaotic plot in the second half – but to others it is a political statement, promoting the frankly non-issue of sexuality for this generation. What a shame. As part of the BFI Flare Festival, this is sure to spur on a debate or two.

G.B.F. is a lot of fun, with enthusiastically directed performances and one liners audacious enough to the youngsters to keep them feeling like it belongs to them. Like, totally awesome, yeah?

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