A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that G.B.F. is a brazen, campy high school comedy with a rapid-fire pace of sexually (and sometimes ethnically) laced insults, expressions, and discussions, as well as swear words like "s--t" and "bitch." There's a scene of underage drinking that leads to a hookup between two guys, as well as some casual smoking. Though it's ultimately a film about accepting people and not treating marginalized groups as trendy accessories, to do this, the film exploits stereotypes and mines them for every drop of irreverence and innuendo to be found. Best suited for mature teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Shy gay teen Tanner (Michael J. Willett) has just been outed by accident to the entire high school. Now that he's the only known gay student at Northgate Way High, leaders of three different mean girl cliques, led by Fawcett Brooks (Sasha Pieterse), 'Shley Osgoode (Andrea Bowen), and Caprice Winters (Xosha Roquemore) have their eyes set on acquiring him as their own personal G.B.F. -- "gay best friend" -- the latest trend in all the fashion magazines. Now everyone wants a gay best friend, and what's more, everyone's supportive -- a little too supportive. Guidance counselor Mrs. Hogel (Natasha Lyonne) is super encouraging, and Tanner's best friend, Brent (Paul Iacono), who's still closeted at school, couldn't have a more enthusiastic mother in Mrs. Van Camp (Megan Mulally). But Tanner soon realizes that trying to live up to a stereotype, even when it's a positive one, has a downside, especially when his sudden ascent into fabulousness means alienating everyone who liked him when he was just a nobody.
Is it any good?
G.B.F. is a kind of Mean Girls-meets-Clueless for the gay set, with all of the cliquishness of the former but nowhere near enough of the innocence of the latter. G.B.F. can certainly be clever and funny, and it wraps up with a nice shiny bow, but to get there, it takes you through a labyrinth of relentlessly crude humor that pushes well past the edginess of the aforementioned movies with tasteless sexual slurs, plus a little underage drinking and casual smoking.
Mature teens who endure high school every day may delight in how much this film flouts convention with its lewd dialogue. Parents will be rightly squeamish of the maturity level and explicitness of the jokes (seriously -- "jizz-bin"). To the teenager's credit, it's a campy, satirical look at the way our culture often fetishizes certain marginalized groups to their detriment, and it eventually finds its footing and a little heart. But that cultural reward may offer little in the way of solace through the onslaught of this many hand job jokes. Tread warily.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the language used in G.B.F. Does it realistically represent the way teenagers talk today, or do you think it verges on satire?
Do you think G.B.F. is an offensive exploration of teenage cliques and stereotypes or a campy, fun take on them? What's the difference? Can you define it?
Do you think it can be limiting to be stereotyped, even when the stereotype is a seemingly positive one? How so? Do you think the film does a good job of demonstrating this? What did it get right? What do you think it got wrong?
- On DVD or streaming: February 11, 2014
- Cast: Megan Mullally, Paul Iacono, Michael J. Willett, Natasha Lyonne, Sasha Pieterse, Andrea Bowen
- Director: Darren Stein
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Rated R for sexual references.
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