Entertainment » Movies

Gayby

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Oct 12, 2012
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Writer-director Jonathan Lisecki expands his 2010 short film about a single woman and her gay best friend trying to have a baby "the old fashioned way" into a feature film. The two projects share the same cast and the same name: "Gayby."

Jenn (Jenn Harris) teaches yoga, but she’s looking for something more to fulfill her life. Matt (Matt Wilkas) is her best friend, a gay man who has recently broken up with his longtime partner and isn’t comfortable yet going on dates unless he can keep things "above the waist." Not surprisingly, Matt’s dates tend not to end well.

When Jenn asks Matt for his help in having a baby, the two decide on the low-cost, low-tech method, figuring that since they had sex in college once it shouldn’t be any big deal to get it on for the sake of getting pregnant.

This simple plot device spins into comic gold as Jenn and Matt keep looking for love online and going on dates even though they need to get back to each other every night in order to try, try again. At first, sex between them is to the point, if somewhat awkward, but after a while they seem to start enjoying their time together--not so much for the sex, but rather for the post-coital conversation.

But things start getting complicated when Matt develops an interest in Scott (Mike Doyle), a customer at the comic book store where he works, while Jenn falls into a quick, passionate fling with a painter named Louis (Louis Cancelmi)... a smoldering hunk who also happens to be the brother of her boss. The chaos around them is amplified by well-meaning pals like Nelson (Lisecki) and Jamie (Jack Ferver), two catty queens who detest one another then they aren’t flirting.

It would have been easy to take the short film’s concept and add enough padding to fill out the movie’s hour-and-a-half running time, but Lisecki took the time and effort to write a script that incorporates the original idea into a fully formed contemporary comedy. Along the way, he comes up with terrific one-liners and a sophisticated melee of love and sex worthy of any French farce. The cast’s deadpan delivery gives the script’s lines an understated attitude that works much better than an over-the-top style would have.

All in all, "Gayby" is a refreshing take on the not-quite-trite theme of gay parenthood, and a romantic comedy where the point isn’t for the two leads to sleep together (that’s a given, seeing as how they are trying to become parents), or even fall in love with each other (another given, even if their connection isn’t romantic in nature). This is about something deeper and more daring: Family as it exists not in the minds of churches and politicians, but in the imperfect lives of we little people, the kind of people who work in comic book stores and yoga studios, and generally scrape by as best we can with a smile. It’s about two people sharing the kind of bond that allows them to help one another be who they really are. Now, that’s a love story.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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