Movie Review: Gayby

gayby-2When a single lady (Jenn Harris as Jenn) wants to become a mother, she calls upon her gay best friend (Matthew Wilkas as Matt) to make a genetic donation and to co-parent. There are complications, some because of life happening, as it does, and some because the baby-happy couple seeks them out. For reasons not entirely clear, they decide to forego a turkey baster, deciding to actually have sex. This leads to some scenes so awkward that even religious fundamentalists may be convinced that no one should be made to go against their default sexual orientation.

The movie is oddly paced. The focus is on the process of the two platonic friends getting knocked up together and how this affects their friendship. Without spoiling too much, the movie does end up with the formation of an alternative family, but because of a jump forward in time before the final scene, we don’t really emotionally follow along with how it came together. Incredibly, the movie also skips the one scene that you would expect as the needed pay-off to a movie about getting a baby. The one where the baby actually arrives. What we do get, are some narrative strands that don’t really go anywhere, like a small role by Dulé Hill (from Psych) as a potential suitor for Jenn. And in general, a lot of the scenes that involve the friends dating others aren’t all that essential to the main plot. Possibly, the odd pacing and focus are due to practical and budgetary restrictions. Most scenes involve people talking in one of a handful of re-used locations. A bigger picture approach could have told a more interesting story – showing the friendship develop over a long period of time – but was likely too impractical.

gayby_still4I am not sure if some of the dialogues were improvised, but the script isn’t all that sharp. A lot of what is said is too on-the-nose and not especially smile-worthy. The leads are charming, but they seem a bit too mellow, laid-back and aimless to get invested in their drama. Both of them are coupled with a sharp-tongued and femme sidekick each to sound off against. These characters seem like a throwback, as if someone pointed at Jack from Will & Grace and said “I’ll have two of those, please.” They’re funny, in a predictable and stereotypical kinda way. But they are also so colorful that they make the leads seem bland by comparison.

gayby_01I wanted to like Gayby more than I did. Too much about the movie feels off. There is potential for something good here, but with its misdirected attention, the slightly subdued leads and dialogue that rarely zings as it needs to, the whole thing feels a bit awkward. Like a gay man having sex with a woman.


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