Opens Fri., Jan. 24 at Pacific Place. Rated R. 92 minutes.
One of the truly underrated acting performances of recent years—in fact it was barely rated at all—came from Evanna Lynch, astonishing as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies. I don’t recall ever seeing a screen presence like hers: luminescent, ethereal, played with the most delicate and serene pathos; I am not kidding when I say I think she got screwed out of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. And now I’m more convinced than ever that Lynch has some kind of greatness in her, because she’s nothing like that as an utterly conventional mean girl in G.B.F. (She apparently needs help picking projects, though.)
The film’s premise is cute: Discovering that gay boys are the latest trendy accessory, North Gateway High’s three queen bees—rich bitch Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse), perky Mormon ’Shley (Andrea Bowen), and Caprice (Xosha Roquemore), who rules the drama department—vie for the friendship of newly out Tanner (Michael J. Willett, with the looks of a baby Matt LeBlanc but not nearly the intellectual gravitas). Also pulling him in different directions are Soledad (Joanna Levesque), who’s anxious to start a Gay-Straight Alliance but needs, you know, an actual gay; and his own nerd clique, including the flaming Brent (Paul Iacono), miffed at his former sidekick’s new social prominence.
Even by dumb-teen-comedy standards, though, the ratio of jokes that land to those that fall flat is not what it should be. A few troupers show the kids how it’s done, though: Natasha Lyonne’s camp expertise (Die Mommie Die!, But I’m a Cheerleader) gets her a few effortless laughs, and Megan Mullally, as Brent’s ostentatiously supportive mom, contributes one hilarious moment with her deadpan narration of Brokeback Mountain’s tent scene (“Oh, my . . . I guess necessity is the mother of invention”). G.B.F. has its charms, but if Mullally can’t save a gay comedy, it can’t be saved.