There is a certain stigma attached to gay cinema and it is one of stereotypes, clichés and bad acting.
Of course there are the A star, Hollywood actor laden gay films (The Birdcage, Brokeback Mountain, Philadelphia) however, every now and again one will come off the festival circuit and blow you away. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Jonathan Lisecki’s Gayby.
Based on the short film of the same name, and exploring the relationship between straight best friend Jenn (Jenn Harris) and gay best friend Matt (Matthew Wilkas) as they attempt to have a baby together in the natural way. The film deals with not just the pains of trying to conceive, but the problems of the unconventional family unit and, as the film progresses, the difference in sexuality, dating and love.
…I had a back-up marriage…
The premise is a sweet and caring idea that rings out to anyone who has a best hag or a back-up (for when you run out of time). Even at school I had a back-up marriage, just in case my life didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I think it’s inherent for everyone to want to procreate and at the end of the day who better than that friend who you’ve known for 20 odd years?
So Jenn and Matt go ahead with the idea and, after a few awkward situations (horny goat weed, dead cat’s syringe, dance breaks), get into the swing of having regular sex. However, they decided to date alongside their interesting situation and after an incident with a co-workers brother, Jenn is unsure whether the baby is Matt’s or not? Along for the ride is Matt’s ex-boyfriends best friend Nelson (Jonathan Lisecki), Jenn’s adoption hating sister Kelly (Anna Margret Hollyman) and her sex mad Yoga work buddy Jamie (Jack Ferver). All of these characters bring their own delicious view to the situation and that is where the real heart of the film comes from.
…the heartache of trying to start a family…
The original short film is the bare bones of the story. A gay guy and his best friend want to have a baby (gay-by) between them. The full film fleshes out their work lives, the opinions of others and the heartache of trying to start a family when the rest of life gets in your way. What happens when you’ve given up on life and settle down to start a family, only to find love again?
Being a fan of gay cinema I was pleasantly surprised about this film. The dialogue is sculptured with hilarious wit and realistic manner. This is down to the film’s director whose grasp of language is a true testament to modern gay cinema, where generally bad acting, and a script can be flung aside as long as the guys are beautiful.
…a stunning gem…
Overall Gayby is a fresh and funny look at best friends. The main actors are so well suited to each other it’s incredibly difficult to not believe their relationship. Don’t be surprised that this film has outrageous, laugh out loud gay moments, but it doesn’t damage the whole of the film. It is a sweet, devoted and funny exploration of the unconventional, and a stunning gem in a somewhat lazy genre.