In the modern world there are all sorts of non-traditional families. Gayby takes a look at what happens when a straight woman and her gay best friend decide to have a baby together.
Jenn (Jenn Harris) and Matt (Matthew Wilkas) have been friends for years. In their youth they made a pact that if it hadn’t happened for either of them, they’d have a child together. Now in their 30s and with both of them single, Jenn decides to hold Matt to his promise. Keen to have a child of his own, he agrees. However there is one proviso – Jenn wants to have conceive the natural way, without turkey basters or any other equipment than what Matt has attached to him already.
Getting pregnant takes longer than expected and also complicates Matt and Jen’s already hectic dating lives. Can they actually manage to have a baby together – both physically and emotionally?
Gayby started out life as a well-received 2010 short, which writer/director/actor Jonathan Lisecki has now expanded into a feature-length film. As with many shorts turned into movies, it has the benefit of a proven good idea at its core, but also the problem that expanded something from 12 minutes to 90 means that you have to find a lot of new material to fill in the gaps.
There are definitely moments in Gayby where it feels like it’s slightly lost its way and that what we’re seeing is filler, but for the most part it’s entertaining and extremely likable. Even the bits that are essentially marking time don’t get dull, thanks to a script filled with wit and humour. Lisecki and Jack Ferver (who many Brits will recognise as the camp yes man in the Orange film parody ads) provide plenty of comedy in supporting roles, bringing a touch of camp to the movie, which thankfully isn’t used for bitchy nastiness as it is in many LGBT-themed films.
The film doesn’t go too deep into the issues it raises, mainly just flirting with the more complicated questions raised by a gay man and a straight woman having a baby together, as well as the difficulties of sex and dating in your 30s. For them most part though it deals with them well enough to ensure it holds your attention, while mining them for entertainment.
I wasn’t quite convinced by a major turn in the plot towards the end, where the main duo fall out. Gayby essentially sides with Matt, when actually his anger is far less reasonable than the movie paints it. Luckily Jenn seems to agree that she’s a flake who has to apologise for her sexual indiscretions, when if the roles had been reversed, she would still be the bad guy if she got angry at Matt. It’s slightly annoying, and seems to be a result of not wanting that characters to do anything unforgivable, but still have the sort of conflict a film needs. The result works but it’s slightly problematic and has a faint whiff of sexism about it.
And on a more personal note, I was pleased by the number of guys in the film allowed to keep their natural body hair. In most gay films, everyone is plucked, shaved and trimmed within an inch of their life, but it’s nice to see a movie where the guys are actually allowed a bit of chest scruff.
Overall Verdict: It may have its flaws, but Gayby also has plenty of strengths. It’s an interesting subject handled in an interesting, entertaining way, with plenty of wit and humour to keep a smile on your face.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac