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Review: 'G.B.F.' has mostly good fun with stereotypes

The giddy, broad, candy-colored "G.B.F" takes a sharp and amusing look at what happens when three high school queen bees discover what's missing from their arsenals of cutting-edge cool: a gay best friend, hence "G.B.F."

So when the sweet, tentative and, as one of the quasi-mean girls notes, "not even that fabulous" Tanner (an endearing Michael J. Willett) is outed via a mishap with a guy-on-guy hookup app, the bees swarm. The girls (Sasha Pieterse, Andrea Bowen and Xosha Roquemore) compete to make Tanner, now the school's only openly gay student (really?), their newest accessory.

What follows is Tanner's journey into first-time popularity and self-possession as he juggles friends new and old (particularly his more flamboyantly gay pal, Brent, gamely played by Paul Iacono), all while the senior prom — and a host of related complications — looms large. Along the way, director Darren Stein ("Jawbreaker") makes sure stereotypes are bent, broken and, yes, also reinforced. (Even in jest, must they call an Asian kid "Won Ton"?). 

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If "G.B.F." sounds a bit past its prime, in some respects it is. In addition, the messaging here can get muddled when George Northy's script — at times overly glib — eschews smarts for laughs. Still, until being young and gay is a nonissue for everyone everywhere, these kinds of stories will always have their place.

As the adults in the kids' various universes, Megan Mullally, Natasha Lyonne, Jonathan Silverman, Rebecca Gayheart and Horatio Sanz offer fun support.

"G.B.F." MPAA rating: R for sexual references. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. At Sundance Sunset Cinemas, West Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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