“Sex with your best friend has never been this reproductive.”
Jenn (Jenn Harris, Confessions of a Shopaholic) and her best friend Matt (Matthew Wilkas, Sad Sack Sally) are both single and have wanted to have a baby forever. Now in their thirties, they decide it’s time to switch their focus from meeting the “right one” and have a baby together. The only issue is Matt is gay and Jenn isn’t. They decide to try “the old-fashioned way” regardless and also decide they shouldn’t give up on finding love.
At this point, it would be easy to draw comparisons to The Object of My Affection, but while there are correlations to dismiss Gayby as some sort of copy would be a mistake. Gayby is a rare gem — a film that has the courage to be awkward. It would have been so easy to create a drama-fest out of this premise, as The Object of My Affection did. To instead craft a film which is not only funny and heartwarming but also awkward in the best possible way is difficult to say the least. Gayby is a fast-paced ride. For Harris and Wilkas trying to date while also trying to become pregnant brings challenges which are funny and awkward at equal turns. Gayby succeeds in all it attempts and is easy to recommend.
The acting is what carries the film, no doubt about it. The chemistry between real-life friends Harris and Wilkas bleeds into each scene, and it’s not hard to buy into their dilemma. Equal credit has to be given to writer/director Jonathan Lisecki (Big Gay Love), who also has a role in the film as Wilkas’ friend. Lisecki understands the roles he has created, and as such, the supporting characters are there to serve the main story, but they also walk the line very well. The line in question is that of realistic versus over-the-top campy characters which so many LGBT films suffer with. Gayby‘s characters are never caricatures, adding to the delight.
This is low-budget filmmaking at its best. The video has that video camera feel, with its pale palette and shallow depth of field. But the story doesn’t need color timing or HD to be told so it’s something that you quickly forget about. The soundtrack features a lot of covers of well-known songs, which sound great on the 5.1 surround sound audio track.
As far as special features go, there are a few. First is a commentary track which is pretty entertaining, as the three people talking (Wilkas, Harris and Lisecki) have all known each other a long time. So it’s a nonstop information ride. It’s located under setup rather than bonus. Next up are the deleted scenes which include outtakes as well. Following that is the original “Gayby” short which provides not only a nice compression of the film, but also demonstrates why the concept was so ripe for a feature. Lastly is a group of trailers from Wolfe Films.
The idea of a straight woman and a gay man conceiving and raising a child isn’t the out-of-the-box idea it once was, thus a film trying to make a statement out of the premise isn’t going to play. However, making a film about the relationships involved in such a premise will play if it’s written and acted well and Gayby is that film. Real-life relationships between the main actors help sell the concept of awkward friends deciding to fulfill their dream of having a child.
It’s easy to recommend a purchase. Gayby is funny and heartwarming while also allowing the awkwardness the premise creates to thrive and flourish. If you’re hesitant, go ahead and stream it, but I think it has rewatchability enough to add it to your collection.