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The Fresno Bee-
Thursday, May. 31, 2012 | 12:00 PM
Director Jonathan Lisecki had success on the film festival circuit in 2010 with his 12-minute short "Gayby" (rhymes with baby). It's the story of two singles who have been friends since college -- Jenn (Jenn Harris) and Matt (Matthew Wilkas) -- who as thirtysomethings decide to have a baby. The twist is he's gay and she wants to conceive the child "the old fashioned way."
Lisecki's turned that short into a feature film with the same storyline and actors. Although it's a sweet movie, it's a case of more is not always better.
Instead of being a quick and funny look at friendship and parenting, the film feels a little bloated. Lisecki loaded up the movie with scenes of the conception attempts that are funny the first time but grow old and tired quickly. There's also some expansion on the supporting players but none of them are that interesting.
What does work is the kind of natural relationship Harris and Wilkas have that makes their friendship seem very real. They find that place between the comfort old friends have and the awkwardness of their unorthodox sexual activities. It's easy to want them to have a child.
How important their relationship is to the film becomes very evident when they are not on screen together. Harris looks like she lost her best friend and Wilkas resorts to being overly emotional. They need each other to find a good balance.
This chemistry is vital because Lisecki has shot a very spartan project. The majority of the action takes place in four locations and with only a handful of actors. Without the baby-making central core, the movie would be as appealing as morning sickness.
There was really no great reason to make "Gayby" a full-length movie but Lisecki moved forward armed with the best part of the production, whether it be 12 minutes, hours or days long -- Harris and Wilkas. There hasn't been as entertaining an offbeat pair since the days of "Will & Grace."
"Gayby" is a presentation of Fresno Reel Pride Night Out at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre.
"Gayby," unrated but includes language, sexual situations. Stars Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Sarita Choudhury, Dule Hill. Directed by Jonathan Lisecki. Running time: 89 minutes. Grade: B-