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Originally published Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 3:50 PM

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‘G.B.F.’: a light, winning gay-best-friend teen comedy

A three-star movie review of “G.B.F.,” a satirical comedy concerning a closeted gay teen who is suddenly outed and embraced by social-climbing girls as a faddish accessory.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review 3 stars

‘G.B.F.,’ with Michael J. Willett, Paul Iacono, Sasha Pieterse, Andrea Bowen, Xosha Roquemore, Jonathan Silverman, Natasha Lyonne, Megan Mullally. Directed by Darren Stein, from a screenplay by George Northy. 92 minutes. Rated R for sexual references. Pacific Place.

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Rarely has the meaninglessness of the MPAA ratings system been more glaring than in the R rating given to bouncy high-school comedy “G.B.F.” for “sexual references.”

Without a hint of nudity, four-letter words or sexual images, the film’s only apparent barrier to the teen audience “G.B.F.” is meant to entertain and gently enlighten are a few commonly used initials designating sex acts that never actually happen on screen.

It’s a shame kids will have a hard time seeing “G.B.F.” in theaters because it’s a frothy satire about adolescent social manners, a bit like “Clueless” or a tongue-in-cheek take on the 1980s-’90s “Degrassi” television series.

The clever screenplay by George Northy concerns a closeted gay teen, Tanner (Michael J. Willett), who is unwittingly outed and embraced as a faddish accessory by social-climbing straight girls. Three would-be prom queens (Sasha Pieterse, Andrea Bowen, Xosha Roquemore) vie for Tanner’s time and attention, treating him more like a must-have mascot than an actual peer.

Happily, a bit of consciousness-raising ensues, and by film’s end, everyone is more genuine. Straight/gay equality becomes no big deal when worked out on a dance floor.

Paul Iacano brings much to the film’s arch flavor as Tanner’s gay best friend, Brent, while a sharp supporting cast adds extra tautness to director Darren Stein’s superb comic tone.

It’s nice that a few scenes are shared with some “adult” actors, among them Jonathan Silverman, Natasha Lyonne and, above all, Megan Mullally as Brent’s well-meaning mom. Mullally’s hilarious, ceaseless patter during a home screening of “Brokeback Mountain” is reason enough to see this movie.

Tom Keogh:

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