Being out has never been so in.G.B.F.
is a 2013 independent teen comedy film directed by Darren Stein.
Change is sweeping the suburban North Gateway high school when magazines announce the new trend for every girl worth her heels — a Gay Best Friend
(appropriated as G.B.F.), who, allegedly, will give out fashion and relationship advice while still providing a platonic, minority-inclusive friendship. Soledad (Jojo Levesque) and her group of friends attempt to start a Gay-Straight Alliance in order to find G.B.F.s for themselves except they don't have any openly gay members, which is kind of a necessary requirement. There's only one problem — North Gateway High School doesn't have
any openly gay boys.
Meanwhile, students Tanner Daniels (Michael J. Willett) and Brent van Camp (Paul Iacono) are best friends who are both closeted homosexuals. Brent downloads an app onto Tanner's phone that allows them to track down other gay guys in the area. However, Soledad and co. have already taken advantage of this app — and they track down Tanner's phone in public, inadvertently outing him to the school.
Having been forced out of the closet, Tanner finds himself a target for homophobic bullying, were it not for the intervention of the school's three alpha females
— the beautiful and popular Fawcett Brooks (Sasha Pieterse), who rules the popular kids, the fierce and talented Caprice Winters (Xosha Roquemore), who leads the minorities and theater kids, and the ditzy goody-two-shoes Ashley "'Shley" Osgoode (Andrea Bowen), to whom the religious Christians of the school defer to. All three of them want him to be their G.B.F. and endorse one of them for prom queen — so they attempt to mold him into their ideal arm candy and force him to choose between popularity and friendship...
This film provides examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: The school has three: Fawcett (the most stereotypical, who leads the popular kids), Caprice (theater and minority), and 'Shley (conservative and religious). All three of them are Lovable Alpha Bitches to different degrees.
- Armored Closet Gay: Topher admits he's gay and pulls the moves on Tanner, but he's not about to out himself to the Mormon tabernacle. When he hooks up with Christian, he says he's willing to do just that.
- Attention Whore: Soledad. This is the reason for her founding a GSA — so that she can have something to her name that isn't taken up by one of the three most popular girls. Lampshaded by Mrs. Hogel.
- The Beard: 'Shley is one to her repressed, closeted boyfriend Topher.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Fawcett and Soledad either can't stand each other or secretly like each other with how much they fight.
- Beta Bitch: Fawcett has Mandy, who seems to be her closest friend besides this. McKenzie seemed to have been this to 'Shley before she grew disgusted with 'Shley fraternizing with "sodomites."
- Better as Friends: Brent and Tanner decide they are this at the end of the film, deciding that their friendship isn't worth risking all the relationship drama.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three prom queen frontrunners. Respectively: Fawcett, Caprice, and 'Shley. Amazingly, the personality expectations usually associated with each hair color are flipped around between the three of them — instead of being dumb, Fawcett is in fact a secret chemistry geek who mixes her own beauty products. The ditzy one is instead the redheaded 'Shley, whose good-naturedness prevents her from being anything near fiery. The brunette Caprice is instead the largest presence and the most prone to emotional outbursts among the three of them.
- Camp Gay: Brent, who is the more stereotypical gay guy — he dresses outlandishly, cares a lot about fashion, keeps pictures of hot actors on the walls of his room, etc.
- Closet Geek: Fawcett.The reason she wins the Best Hair every year because she's good at chemistry,thus makes her able to mix her hair care products.
- Covert Pervert: 'Shley and Topher are both revealed to be much more sexual than their religion permits. As Tanner puts it, the Mormons are a "repressed and horny people".
- Crazy Cat Lady: Seems to be the sad ultimate fate of Ms Hoegel, the teacher who runs the Gay Straight Alliance. She started on the slippery slope after her own GBF left her for San Francisco with a leather queen. Now it seems the most meaningful relationship in her life is with "Anderson Coo-purr".
- Disappeared Dad: Brent's father is not mentioned. He and his mother live alone.
- Double Standard: Some of the girls who fawn over gay men are downright mean about Sophie, whom they suspect to be a lesbian. Sophie even discusses how coming out as lesbian and winning the prom queen crown is an impossible combination.
- Fag Hag: Because becoming one is suddenly trendy, it's easier to count the female characters who don't show shades of this trope.
- Fashion-Shop Fashion Show: We're treated to a scene like this when the girls take Tanner shopping and dress him in clothes that represent their specific tastes.
- Foil: Best friends Brent and Tanner, as well as the open-minded, generous 'Shley and uptight Heteronormative Crusader McKenzie.
- Foreign Fanservice: Everyone thinks the British Christian is very attractive.
- Gay Best Friend: What kicks the plot the film off is the girls' desire for this. Later, this fetishizing is defied by Tanner — the whole fiasco has treated him less like a person and more like a stereotype or accessory.
- Has Two Mommies: A minor character in Soledad's GSA.
- Heteronormative Crusader: McKenzie, in contrast to the more open-minded 'Shley. She even applies Leviticus 18:22 note onto her inclusive-prom-protest war paint.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: JoJo is leading a GSA without gays while Alison Dilaurentis is one of the popular girls, Wade from Kappa Tau is one of the protagonists friends and Luna Lovegood is trying to keep the gays away from prom.
- Hidden Depths: As he spends more time with each of the girls, Tanner realizes things about all of them:
- 'Shley's boyfriend Topher is actually gay. To wit, she's also the "worst Mormon ever," being willing to let loose and party even if her religion forbids it.
- Caprice wants to win prom queen so she can be the first minority to do it.
- Fawcett is lonely and has very few real friends. She's also a giant Chemistry nerd.
- High School
- High School Dance: Prom is the focal event of the movie.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Michael J. Willett later starred in Faking It where he plays a gay guy who outs two (seemingly) straight girls.
- Jerk Jock: The homophobic bully Hamilton, who's also Fawcett's ex-boyfriend.
- Large Ham: Brent and Caprice are both in full-on drama mode at all times. It's no wonder they end up as genuine best friends. They're also both voted Most Dramatic.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: All three queen bees reveal a nicer side:
- 'Shley (who is willing to befriend Tanner despite Mormonism forbidding it, and is generally the nicest and most approachable out of the three of them)
- Fawcett (who is the only one to stand up for Tanner re: the school's homophobic prom policies).
- Caprice (the only girl to understand Tanner needs a romantic life and isn't a neutered purse-poodle- so she tries to set him up with a hot British guy)
- Make Way for the Princess: After uniting the three most popular girls, Tanner and the three of them get a scene like this.
- Meaningful Name:
- Brent van Camp.
- The Alpha Bitch Fawcett is named after the Charlie's Angels star, and is also famed for her long blonde locks.
- Soledad's name means solitude/loneliness- perfect for a Fag Hag who can't find herself a GBF.
- Missing Mom: Tanner's biological mother is not mentioned. Instead, he has a cheery stepmother.
- Mistaken for Gay: Glenn, who seems to be considered gay simply because he's friends with Tanner. This also happened to Sophie, though it's never outright denied that she's a lesbian.
- My Beloved Smother: A non-malevolent example in Mrs Van Camp. She wants to show her son she loves him as he is so badly that she ends up being hilariously inappropriate. Brokeback Mountain, anyone?
- Open-Minded Parent: Tanner's dad and stepmom and Brent's mother all know their children are gay before the outings, and don't love them any less for it.
- Pair the Spares: There are four gay guys introduced over the course of the film: Tanner, Brent, Topher, and Christopher. After Christopher ditches Tanner at prom and Topher is spurned by both Tanner and Brent, they have sex in a car. Tanner and Brent end up Better as Friends though.
- Popular Is Dumb: Played straight with the not-too-bright 'Shley, but subverted with Fawcett, who's initially supposed to be the stereotypical bitchy queen of the popular kids...who's also a science nerd.
- Prom Is for Straight Kids: McKenzie and several other students seem to believe this, disallowing Tanner to purchase tickets for him and his (male) date and even protesting outside the inclusive prom Fawcett holds.
- Sassy Black Woman: Caprice embodies this trope. She's loud, mouthy, and has the social standing to back it up. She even wins "Most Dramatic" (which, according to Tanner, is shorthand for "Bitchiest") at the end of the school year. Lampshaded when McKenzie says she's excited to have an S.B.F. (Sassy Black Friend).
- Seemingly Wholesome '50s Girl: Queen of the Mormon kids 'Shley, who appears at first to be a prissy, pure, old-fashioned girl, is revealed to be obsessed with learning sexual techniques to please her closet-case boyfriend. It gets especially extreme when she seduces Glenn, who she thinks is gay and therefore "doesn't count". When the others burst in on her straddling him, she scolds them when they gasp the Lord's name in vain.
- She's Got Legs: All three girls' outfits — but especially Caprice — wear clothes designed to show off their legs.
- Shout-Out: A couple to Mean Girls:
- Caprice was apparently the Regina George in the musical version of "Mean Girls."
- When Tanner gives a big speech about inclusion and open-mindedness upon winning Prom King, Brent refers to it as "going full Lohan."
- Straight Gay: When Tanner is outed, everybody is surprised since he doesn't seem to have any stereotypically gay traits (Tanner is actually a nerd who happens to be gay). He does get slightly campier over the course of the film.
- Those Two Guys: Glenn and Sophie, who round out Tanner and Brent's group of friends and provide running commentary on the films' goings-on.
- Transparent Closet: According to Caprice, Brent is "gayer than a Very Special Episode of Glee. Nobody is really surprised when he's revealed to be gay, especially not his mother.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Tanner calls Fawcett out on only allowing certain students to her Alterna-Prom.