Sunday, January 19, 2014
Three high-school social queens compete for what magazines tell them is the hottest new accessory – a gay best friend – in the aggressively unfunny comedy “G.B.F.”
There’s the sassy black one, Caprice (Xosha Roquemore, a name begging to be used in a crossword); the prissy Mormon one, ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen); and Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse), the blonde cheerleader whose proficiency in chemistry she keeps a closely guarded secret. These are one-note characters no better drawn than Elle’s girlfriends in “Legally Blonde,” but there’s more wit in that show’s opening number, “Omigod You Guys,” than in all of “G.B.F.”
At the center is sweet, gay Tanner, inadvertently outed when a teacher confiscates his cell phone during class and the girls download a gay hookup app to determine his location. As played by newcomer Michael J. Willett, he’s meek and whiny, a mouse among big cats. His best friend, Brent (Paul Iacono), is flamingly gay, but we’re supposed to believe he “hasn’t told anyone yet,” making Tanner the must-have senior prom arm candy. The dialogue in “G.B.F.” comes fast and relentless – George Northy’s script must run to thousands of pages – but the satire never attains the level of, say, the first half of “Heathers,” and director Darren Stein lurches from over-the-top fantasy to treacly sentimentality. Natasha Lyonne teleports in from obscurity to play the school’s GSA adviser, while Megan Mullally gets the painfully unfunny and truly head-scratching part of Brent’s mother, so eager for her son to experience gay sex she all but sticks Tanner’s dick up his ass.