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Film / G.B.F.

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From left to right: 'Shley, Tanner, Caprice, Fawcett, and Brent.

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 gay guys. 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. 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 male actors on the walls of his room, etc.
  • Camp Straight: Downplayed with Glenn, he isn't so much camp, but he isn't macho and his social circle consists of two gay guys and a girl he's not involved with. Even Sophie is vocally shocked at finding him in bed with 'Shley.
  • 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.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Thanks to 'Shley's sheltered upbringing. Caprice shuts down her offer of brownies to Tanner, saying carbs to gays are like sunlight to vampires. 'Shley pauses before asking "Carbs make gays sparkle?"
  • Covert Pervert: 'Shley and Topher are both revealed to be much more sexual than their religion permits. As Tanner puts it, Mormons are a "repressed and horny people".
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Ir 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".
  • Did They or Didn't They?: It's unclear whether Brent and Tanner had sex, even to themselves.
  • 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. Tanner even lampshades it, calling it going full-blown montage.
  • Foil: Best friends Brent and Tanner, as well as the open-minded, generous 'Shley and uptight McKenzie.
  • Forcibly Outed: Tanner and Brent, both closeted gay guys, download an app for tracking other gay guys onto Tanner's phone. Girls from their school track Tanner's signal down, and Tanner tries to stop them in public and failing, revealing to the whole school that he's gay. Upset about this forced outing, he confronts Brent later, and in a fit of petty rage, outs Brent to his mother.
  • Foreign Fanservice: Everyone thinks the British Christian is very attractive.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Tanner completes the popular clique into this - 'Shley is Phlegmatic, Caprice is Sanguine, Fawcett is Choleric is Tanner is Melancholic. Also works with his original group of friends - Sophie is Choleric, Glenn is Phlegmatic and Brent is Sanguine.
  • 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.
  • Get Back in the Closet: The film is rated R despite having no sexual moments or strong language. The Other Wiki notes that the MPAA tends to be harsher on independent movies than major studio-backed films.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: McKenzie, in contrast to the more open-minded 'Shley. She even applies Leviticus 18:22note  onto her inclusive-prom-protest war paint.
  • 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 Dance: Prom is the focal event of the movie.
  • Initialism Title: The film's title is G.B.F., which stands for Gay Best Friend.
  • Innocent Innuendo: On two occasions.
    • The first when Tanner's stepmom tell his she made popsicles "thick and fruity, just the way you like them".
    • The second when Topher tells him that "that's what gays love, meat" (while he and Ashley offer him a meal of just meat, since Fawcett told them gays don't eat carbs).
    • Both times this is initially played as innocent. However, it's later revealed that Tanner's parents knew he was gay all along and might have been poking fun at him, and Topher is a closeted gay, so he was most likely trying to seduce Tanner.
  • Irony: Brent only made Tanner get the gay dating app as part of a convoluted plan to become prom king and get in with the popular cliques, while Tanner wants nothing to do with it. Come GBF hungry Soledad forcibly outing him, Tanner becomes super popular and a deadlock to win prom king, while Brent is stuck a nobody.
  • Jerk Jock: The homophobic bully Hamilton, who's also Fawcett's ex-boyfriend.
  • Karma Houdini: Aside from a scolding from Mrs. Hogel, Soledad faces no real consequences for outing Tanner for the sole purpose of having her own GBF. Though her status as an unpopular Butt-Monkey seems to somewhat counter this.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Brent and Tanner.
  • 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.
  • Leg Focus: All three girls — but especially Caprice — wear clothes designed to show off their legs.
  • 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, although her calling Glenn their "Token vagina enthusiast" implies that she is straight.
  • 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?
  • No Bisexuals: In full force.
    • Despite being 'Shley's boyfriend and (initially) reluctantly accepting a future and children with her, Topher is presented as Armored Closet Gay. Plus, 'Shley only assumes that Glenn is gay, despite him returning and enjoying her advances (he's completely straight).
    • When Tanner comes out to his parents, they accept that he is apparently "100% allergic to the lady parts." Semi-offended, Tanner responds that he could be bi, but his parents laugh it off.
  • 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. However, Tanner and Brent end up Better as Friends.
    • Also 'Shley and Glenn. After 'Shley's relationship with Tanner ends, she's paired up with the single, Camp Straight Glenn.
  • Person as Verb: Brent refers to Tanner's speech on prom night as "going full Lohan", in reference to Cady's speech where she splits the tiara.
  • 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. However, at least 3 of her supporters (Brent, Caprice and Topher) are just taking advantage of her bigotry for their own (very gay) motives.
  • Questionable Consent: During the party, a very drunk 'Shley drags Glenn to a bedroom for him to teach her sexual techniques (this being a full on practical approach to teaching) rationalizing that, since he's gay (he totally isn't), it doesn't count. Glenn gathers enough restraint to stop her telling her he's not gay, but allows it to happen when she doesn't seem to mind anyway. While 'Shley is very drunk, it's heavily implied by her behavior during the rest of the movie that she is actually a very repressed young girl that really wants to experiment, and the budding attraction continues being acted upon through her sobriety. YMMV on whether this is Glenn taking advantage of 'Shley's drunkenness or 'Shley taking advantage of her own drunkenness. Either way, the film portrays it as another hilarious worst Mormon ever 'Shley moment.
  • 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.
  • 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."
    • The intended prank on Tanner by Brent and Caprice is one to Carrie.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: It seems like it's going to be the straight prom and the gay prom sniping at each other... only for the principal to haul McKenzie, Caprice, Brent, and the rest of the school prom planners into his office to severely reprimand them for the homophobic posters, and then cancel the school prom entirely. And on top of that, the gay prom is still allowed to be held, as it's an outside project beyond the principal's jurisdiction.
  • Team Mom: Sophie is this for Tanner and Brent, calling Tanner out for outing Brent to his mom, then later calling Brent out for insulting her and Glenn despite them being there to try and cheer him after their fight.
  • 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. Tanner's dad and stepmom were also well aware he was gay before Tanner came out to them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Tanner calls Fawcett out on only allowing certain students to her Alterna-Prom.
    • Tanner gives one to Brent for causing him to be outed at the beginning of the film, which leads to Sophie calling Tanner out on him outing Brent to his mom.


Video Example(s):


Tanner and the Alphas

After befriending the school's three most popular girls, Tanner power-walks down the hallway with them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MakeWayForThePrincess

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