Friday, March 31st, 2023

A necessary accessory for female high-school clique leaders


Directed by Darren Stein

Written by George Northy

Premiered April 19, 2013, at the Tribeca Film Festival
Comedy (youth)
92 min.


Review by Stephen O. Murray

October 19, 2013.

I was skeptical of the premise of the 2013 independent American high school non-musical G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend): that clique-leading high school girls would vie for having the accessory of a gay boy revolving around her. But I thought that Darren Stein’s movie was fairly witty.

Tanner [Michael J. Willett] and Brent [Paul Iacono] are two closeted gay friends at North Gateway High school, the social scene of which is dominated by blonde WASP Fawcett [Sasha Pietrese], African American Caprice [Xosha Roquemore], and Mormon ’Shley (née Ashley) Osgoode [Andrea Bowen]. Brent spies the opportunity to become, if not popular, at least an adjunct of the popular high schoolers, but it is Tanner who is first outed and then courted by the three fashion leaders.

Caprice arranges a gay college student to be Tanner’s prom date, but Shley, miffed at losing the competition for GBF, blocks a same-sex prom date. Fawcett arranges an alternative LGBT prom, which Caprice and Brent plan to sabotage.

The movie is carried by the charm (and self-knowledge) of Willett and Peitrese in particular but also the abandoned fellow-outcast friends Sophie [Molly Tarlov] and Glenn [Derek Mio]. The movie also profits from entertaining performances by the adults, most notably Megan Mullally as Brent’s eager-to-be-a-faghag mom and Tanner’s parents. All three are waiting for their sons to come out so they can be supportive. They are too good to be true, and I’m not convinced that the divas could protect the first openly gay boy in the school’s history from harassment by the school’s jocks.

Being in the “in crowd” (which was Brent’s ambition, not Tanner’s) has its frustrations, though being an accessory of the most fashionable girls at least results in a makeover (sort of a straight-girl eye for the gay guy). I liked it better than Geography Club, Struck by Lightning, I Killed My Mother, Garçon stupide, Mulligans, Were the World Mine, the Eating Out franchise, Is It Just Me?, and Longhorns; not as much as Perks of Being a Wallflower, Boy Culture, Elliot Loves, Judas Kiss, Whole New Thing, Another Country, or Clueless and Easy A.

[Rating: 3.3/5] Pros: cast
Cons: challenge to suspending disbelief

© 19 October 2013, Stephen O. Murray

About The Author

Stephen O. Murray grew up in rural southern Minnesota, earned a B.A. from James Madison College (within Michigan State University), an M.A. from the University of Arizona, a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (both in sociology), and was a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley (in anthropology). He is the author of American Gay, Homosexualities, etc. and lives in San Francisco.