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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reeling Review #1: See G.B.F. at Chicago's LGBT Film Festival

Over the next two weeks I will be reviewing films that will be shown during Reeling31: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival, which runs November 7 - 14.

My first Reeling review is of the festival's Opening Night film, G.B.F., which is short for "Gay Best Friend" - something that every teenage girl apparently wants. Directed by Darren Stein (who wrote and directed the 1999 high school movie, Jawbreaker), G.B.F. tells the tale of Tanner, a 17-year-old comic book geek, and his best friend Brent, who are both in the closet. When Tanner is accidentally outed to his classmates, their friendship changes as he is suddenly sought after as a G.B.F. by the three most popular girls in high school - drama club diva Caprice, sweet Mormon 'Shley and bitchy blonde Fawcett. It's a light comic romp that is easy to enjoy, but I couldn't help but be reminded of another gay teen movie by the presence of actress Natasha Lyonne, who played a young lesbian in 1999's But I'm a Cheerleader. She was sent by her parents to a conversion therapy camp to be "cured", while in G.B.F., both Tanner and Brent's parents are quite accepting of their homosexuality. In fact, Brent's mother (played by the fabulous scene-stealing Megan Mullally) even sets up a queer movie marathon for them to watch together, which leads to some amusingly awkward Brokeback Mountain moments. Although I prefer Cheerleader's darker sense of humor, G.B.F. still made me laugh - and it's always nice to see parents who love their children unconditionally.

In addition to Mullally and Lyonne, the rest of the film's cast is equally good, including Sasha Pieterse as Fawcett, Xosha Roquemore (The Mindy Project) as Caprice, Andrea Bowen (Desperate Housewives) as 'Shley, and Taylor Frey as 'Shley's closeted boyfriend 'Topher. But without two talented young actors as Tanner and Brent, G.B.F. wouldn't be worth watching. Fortunately, the adorable Michael J. Willett and the sassy Paul Stanley Iacono couldn't be better in the roles as they make us care about the boys' friendship. And the cute and funny G.B.F. will make every gay man wish they'd had a mom just like Megan Mullally.

Show time: 7:30 pm, Thursday, November 7, at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport)
Running time: 98 minutes

For a complete schedule of films, go to You can purchase tickets online (click here) or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark) Monday - Friday 10:30 am - 6 pm. You can also get the latest festival news by following Reeling on Twitter and Facebook.

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