The modern American family is being redefined, one high-concept micro-indie at a time. Single and scarcely dating, thirtysomething Jenn (Jenn Harris) asks her recently jilted gay best friend, Matt (Matthew Wilkas), if he’s still serious about a pact they made back in college to have a child together. Though Matt’s game, Jenn’s caveat about conceiving the old-fashioned way proves to be a mechanical and psychological challenge. “It’s nice to see you reopening a closed location in these troubled times,” his friend Nelson (Jonathan Lisecki) cracks. Before long they’re trying holistic catalysts and jury-rigged insemination, struggling to seal the deal (and stay close) as each begins to pursue new lovers.
With its context-deprived dive into an overdetermined premise—it takes mere minutes for Jenn and Matt to start awkwardly screwing—Gayby seems destined for shallow sensationalism and snark. Yet though it does bring the sauce (most of it supplied by Lisecki’s own put-upon, playing-to-type queen), the film develops into a sweet, surprisingly persuasive comedy about friends transitioning into family. There’s absolutely nothing going on visually, and rare are the scenes that venture beyond theatrically sedentary, he-said/she-said duets, but, blessedly, this he and she have a uniquely amusing rapport—their sniping and sulking are exceptionally well-timed. Stage vet Harris is particularly fun to watch, whether she’s pulling ludicrous yoga poses for a housepainter paramour or stealthily stealing glances at her friend’s—and future father of her child’s—junk.
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