Tanner and Brent Van Camp have been best friends for ages and both happen to gay, though the rest of North Gateway High don't know it. They've never been what you'd call popular; all Brent wants is to be surrounded by friends, while Tanner is perfectly comfortable with his lack of status and attention. When Brent discovers that the new must-have girl accessory is a GBF (that is, a Gay Best Friend) he plans to come out of the closet and finally become part of the popular crowd, but Tanner finds himself unwittingly exposed instead and immediately dragged into the high school's main clique of Caprice, 'Shley and Fawcett, who intend to fight it out between themselves as to who gets the GBF. Meanwhile, Brent feels abandoned and jealous, and Tanner has to decide who his real friends are.
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Sharply important themes make this film a lot more important than its wacky style might suggest. It's essentially Mean Girls remade with a gay twist, and the smart script continually acknowledges that fact. There's also plenty of surprisingly deep subtetx, which adds weight even when things start to get a bit silly.
The story centres on Tanner (Willett), a 17-year-old who isn't quite ready to come out of the closet, then is inadvertently outed by his best pal Brent (Iacono). Suddenly, the leaders of the school's three cliques (Pieterse, Bowen and Roquemore) descend on him: the first out gay student, he'll make the perfect accessory as a Gay Best Friend. And wannabe activist Soledad (Levesque) latches on to him so she can launch a gay-straight alliance. But as Tanner strains to fit the stereotype, he finds himself increasingly distant from Brent and their pals (Tarlov and Mio).
Director Stein shoots this in the colourfully wacky style of a Glee episode (without the songs), but even though everything is just a bit over the top, the screenplay grounds the situations and characters with stinging wit and subtle commentary on big issues like peer pressure, bullying, repression, religious intolerance and the reason girls like to hang around gay boys. This lets the likeable actors deepen their characters in ways that continually catch us off guard.
Continue reading: G.B.F. Review
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