Reviewed for Shockya by Harvey Karten
Director: Jonathan Lisecki
Screenwriter: Jonathan Lisecki
Cast: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Mike Doyle, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Jack Ferver, Jonathan Lisecki, Alycia Delmore, Adam Driver, Dulé Hill
Screened at: Broadway, NYC, 10/1/12
Opens: October 12, 2012
You won’t see a sitcom like this on “Leave It to Beaver,” one that could divide the gay community into two groups: one faction that might find the movie hilarious and yet another way to convince the straight world that gays are not from Venus with straights from Mars; or an insult feeding into the stereotypes that the straights have about their gay friends and neighbors. Yet both schools of thought might agree that given the terrific acting by a cast whose résumés cite numbers of off-Broadway credits including classic plays, the excellent comic timing by director Jonathan Lisecki (who plays one of the characters), and the performance by Jenn Harris as a good-natured person whose clock is ticking and who cannot find a mate for life–all make “Gayby” a solid find.
Jenn Harris performs in the role of Jenn, a mid-thirties woman who has given up on finding a husband to help meet her goal of having a baby before time runs out. Who better to ask as a surrogate than Matt (Matthew Wilkas), her best friend from college? Never mind that he’s gay, which would not be a problem if the two went the route of the “turkey baster,” but Jenn wants to have a kid the old-fashioned way, and Matt is sure that he can function, though hardly eager since he is still depressed about a breakup with his boyfriend Tom (Zach Shaffer).
Without skirting the boundaries of a mainstream film, taking full advantage of the liberties that a writer-director can employ in this liberated age, Lisecki has no problem approaching but not entering the soft-core sphere. This is all to the good since the efforts that the couple make toward fulfilling Jenn’s need to procreate come loaded with laughs. Consider the time that Matt takes to “get ready” for the action, since foreplay with his best friend could be considered gauche. Think of the herbal supplement that Jenn takes, horny goat weed, which turns her on to such an extent that she’s ready for action with Louis (Louis Cancelmi), a housepainter with whom a coupling exudes yet more of the comic touches.
The story is loaded with one-liners, zingers that fly by in this well-written script such as the notion that “good luck if you can find a straight guy in New York.” Cute side roles include that of Nelson (the writer-director), a bitchy type who keeps a conversation with Tom going in the comic book store that Tom runs, but this movie belongs to Jenn Harris, a woman who is adept as an instructor in hot yoga as she is in delivering repartee. Incidentally “Gayby” is a contraction of “gay baby.”
Unrated 89 minutes © 2012 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – B
Acting – A-
Technical – B+
Overall – B+