Tribeca Film Festival: G.B.F.

G.B.F.  High school satire, focusing on how popularity, insecurity, and tokenism collide when a gay student is accidentally outed and suddenly becomes the most-wanted social accessory around.  This film covers a lot of ground, most of it cleverly, but it’s definitely more in the line of Clueless than Heathers, where whenever things could take a turn for the tragic, they instead veer to hilarious.  And it is really funny in context, but some scenes made me wonder if, culturally, we are at that point where we can just skate over it with a jokey eyeroll (case-in-point: a sequence where a still-closeted gay student and a black student team up to plaster the school with virulently anti-gay posters in revenge for getting shunted out of the popularity stakes by the gay protagonist).  But still, there’s a genuine heart at the center of the film and a fair amount of attention paid to fleshing out nearly all the characters, so you do come away with a sense of community, and community change.

It helps that the cast is uniformly excellent, selling even the clunkiest lines.  And–warning, pet peeve of mine–a lot of those clunkers weren’t the moral soapboxing moments so much as the zingers.  It makes me an awful geek, but I’m pretty tired of the whole Joss Whedon/Diablo Cody uber-wordy snark style of wit.  Whedon’s writing is truly witty, but those who try to emulate him always seem to take it past that line between baroquely verbose and intelligent, and Diablo Cody just…doesn’t write characters who sound like humans.  There’s an understanding with fiction that you cannot faithfully reproduce how people naturally speak, because they pause, stutter, elide out words, fragment sentences and basically won’t get your point across.  So the idea is to make dialogue resonate with the audience, so even if it doesn’t sound realistic, it feels like it.  And this movie had a bunch of lines that didn’t get there.  But most of them did, and overall, I do think it’s a great film.  Is it going to be a classic like Clueless and Heathers?  That remains to be seen.

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