GBF (or Gay Best Friend), the new comedy treat from writer George Northy and director Darren Stein. The movie posits that in a certain modern day high school, nary a gay boy has "come out." Given the stigma attached to homosex-uality still rampant in schools, despite all the ground-breaking progress made by the adult world, this part of the film is no big stretch. But when the three reigning divas of the female student body decide that what they need most to be truly au courant is a GBF, it sort of beggars belief that most of the school wouldn't immediately know who is probably gay and would then immediately ferret these people out in order to please their popular divas.
Michael J. Willett (above, center) -- in the leading role of Tanner, who brings such genuine sweetness and charm (plus a slightly goofy quality) to the proceedings that he'll win you over in a heartbeat. Mr. Willett never "plays" gay; he simply exists quite comfortably (or not so) in his skin and lets situation, coupled with character, create behavior. And so he comes off as just about perfect in this pivotal role.
Paul Iacono, above left, with Megan Mullally, who plays his way-too-supportive mom). Much more the campy queen who goes for glitter in a very big way, Brent is everything Tanner isn't, so the two make an interesting complement to each other's character and behavior.
Xosha Roquemore (above, right), as Caprice, the black drama queen diva.
Sasha Pieterse -- as Fawcett (above, right) -- wears tresses that call to mind her namesake. She makes a wonderfully self-involved and irony-free character, who suddenly surprises us and Tanner with a little depth.
Andrea Bowen, shown at right), the "good girl" Mormon who discovers all sorts of new adventures via her GBF. 'Shley's would-be Mormon boyfriend, Topher (Taylor Frey) is even more willing to try new things. The scene in which he describes what he can expect from his upcoming life as a Mormon is one of the movie's comic high points.
Other than which diva our boy will finally choose to support, the plot also hinges on the upcoming prom -- who will attend, and with whom, and who will become its king and queen. The pacing here is swift, the length (92 minutes) just right, and the final what-have-we-learned monolog from our hero is spectacularly good: witty, smart, surprising and wonderfully inclusive.
Natasha Lyonne and Horatio Sanz, above, as school counselor and principal.)
Vertical Entertainment, GBF opens theatrically tomorrow in L.A. at the Sundance Sunset Cinema (Q&As with director Darren Stein and writer George Northy in person Friday 1/17 & Saturday 1/18 for the 8pm shows) and in Chicago at the Facets Cinématèque. The following Friday, January 24, the film opens here in NYC at the Quad Cinema (Q&A's Friday, 1/24 - after the 6:45 PM with Actor Paul Iacono and Moderator Rich Juzwiak from Gawker.com., and Saturday, 1/25 - after the 6:45 PM show with Actor Paul Iacono and Moderator Adam Baran from Queer|Art|Film), as well as in San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and maybe elsewhere. (Shown above are Jonathan Silverman and Rebecca Gayheart, who play Tanner's smart parents.)