Gayby is a sweet and incredibly funny comedy about a straight woman, Jenn, who decides to have a baby with her best friend, Matt, who is gay. During the opening credits, we have this bit of dialogue between Jenn (Jenn Harris) and her sister, who is in the process of adopting a baby of her own:
"Wow, I just never thought you'd be the first one to have a kid." "Why, because I'm barren?" "Are you ever going to let that go? I said that like three years ago." "Loudly. At my birthday party."
And that's the first big laugh for me. And right away I'm on board with this film. During the opening credits, we are also introduced to Matt (Matthew Wilkas), who is on a first date with a guy who is there just for sex. That is actually a really funny moment too.
Matt seems to be looking for a more serious relationship, and hadn't dated since he broke up with Tom. Jenn tells him, "Yeah, he wasn't right for you." Matt says, "It took me about six years to figure that out." And Jenn responds, "It takes time." Her quick, quiet and earnest delivery is so perfect that she had me laughing out loud. She proposes that they go about making a baby the old-fashioned way. Apparently they did it in college, but, as he says, they were really drunk then. So she asks him if he wants to get really drunk now.
Of course, when they have sex, it's terribly awkward, but also kind of sweet. Jenn asks innocently, "Should I take my bra off?" And Matt's response is, "Oh God, no." The whole scene is seriously funny, and it is this early scene that made me completely fall in love with this film. The scene ends with Jenn asking, "How many time do you think we should do it? Five?"
This film made me burst out laughing many times, partly because of the script which is full of surprising yet believable dialogue, and partly because of the actors' delivery of these lines. But I also came to like these people, these characters. It is their relationships which really make the film work. Not just the relationship between Matt and Jenn, but, for example, that between Jenn and her sister (those scenes are also hilarious). And that between Matt and his new boyfriend that he meets at the comic book store. Of course it is Matt and Jenn's relationship that truly drives the story. They're so natural and believable together, and that is certainly due in part to the actors having known each other since college. On the DVD's commentary track they talk about that, and how those stills at the beginning of the film are actually them.
Both Matt and Jenn, in addition to trying to create a baby, are also trying to find relationships. In one scene, while looking at bulletin boards with notices for the gay community, Matt says he's not even sure what some of the letters stand for anymore, which is great. There is a notice for Gay Republicans, and his friend Nelson (played by writer/director Jonathan Lisecki) tears it down, saying, "I like having sex with people I hate as much as the next person, but I had to give that up in my twenties." Dule Hill (whom you'll recognize from The West Wing and Psych) is Jenn's first date. The entire cast of this film is fairly strong.
Fanboys and geeks will enjoy the comic book conversations, which show a true knowledge of that world. Matt works at a comic book shop, and is a collector as well as artist. He draws his own graphic novel about a baby that's a superhero at night.
The only scene that didn't work for me is when Jenn gets a bit weird in her yoga class, leading to a dance moment with another gay friend. It comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere. But soon the movie is back on track, especially when Nelson arrives to help out with the pregnancy project.
DVD Bonus Features
The DVD has several bonus features including Gayby: The Short (12 minutes). The short film from 2010 has Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas playing the same roles from the feature film. The script is pretty close to that of the feature. It's basically the early scenes - their conversation about having a kid, their first go at it, and the scene while they're waiting for the pregnancy test results. It's interesting to see the small changes the writer Jonathan Lisecki made between filming the short and the feature.
Also in the bonus features is "Deleted Scene: The Dream Sequence," a scene that is very silly at first. The tone seems different from the rest of the film, which is perhaps why it was cut. A bonus feature titled "More Deleted Scenes" has some short deleted scenes, but also several outtakes.
There is also a commentary track by writer/director/actor Jonathan Lisecki and actors Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas. And of course, the DVD includes the film's trailer.
Gayby stars Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Mike Doyle, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Adam Driver, Zach Shaffer, Jonathan Lisecki, and Dule Hill. It was written and directed by Jonathan Lisecki. This is his first feature film. Gayby is scheduled to be released on DVD on December 11, 2012 through Wolfe Video.