Festival Report: The Inaugural Richard Harris International Film Festival


Eadaoin O’Neill reports from the screening of G.B.F at the Inaugural Richard Harris International Film Festival.


From the director of Jawbreaker, Darren Stein’s G.B.F tells the story of two best friends who face the trials and tribulations of sexuality, friendship, social status, peer pressure and high school.

Tanner (Michael J. Willett) and Brent (Paul Iacono) are best friends, they also happen to be gay. Brent, the stereotypical big screen version of gay, longs to be outed believing this will elevate his social status , while Tanner just wants to get through high school. Brent has a hare-brained scheme to use the latest app ‘Guydar’ to out himself. Of course things go horribly wrong and Tanner gets outed instead. Enter the school’s queen bees Fawcett, Caprice and ‘Shley and cue all out war for this season’s must have accessory the Gay Best Friend.

While G.B.F is visually immaculate, it’s all style and no substance. There is very little time spent on character development and the stereotypes are overtly stereotypical. Brent feels more like a plot device than a lead character and Tanner lacks any real depth, making his performance underwhelming at best and unbelievable at worst. At times G.B.F can suffer from a lack of structure causing it to drag until the next plot point. The subject matter could have lead to a funny and unique film; unfortunately it never lives up to its potential.

There are, however, a few laughs to be had; Megan Mullally provides a hilarious and at times slightly uncomfortable performance as Brent’s over accepting mother. There are some quick and well placed one-liner’s littered throughout the film and the inclusion of the ‘Guydar’ app is just one of the sharp commentaries on how social media affects our interactions.

After viewing, it’s hard to decide if G.B.F is a satire cleverly disguised as a throwaway piece or just that, an unmemorable popcorn movie for the ‘i-thingy’ generation.

G.B.F screened on Saturday, 7th December as part of the Inaugural Richard Harris International Film Festival (6 – 8 December 2013, Limerick)


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