“BFFs” is a sexually fluid female buddy comedy

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I watched BFFs for the first time about a year ago and thought it was really funny then. Having watched it again almost a year to the day, I’m happy to report it holds up very nicely. In fact, it was better the second time around. That’s almost certainly because after my interview with the film’s writers, producers, stars and real life best friends, Andrea Grano and Tara Karsian, I could finally place that special chemistry that goes beyond two actresses who are just really good at their craft (by the way, that interview is still one of my absolute favorites). If you’re not sold yet, maybe actually describing the movie will help.

BFFs is a comedy that’s more buddy film than romcom. It’s not so much what you would call a “lesbian film,” but more of a crossover movie that embraces sexual fluidity. While that’s been cause for concern in the past (and, let’s face it, will continue to be for the foreseeable future), Andrea and Tara handle the queer themes in their film with grace.

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The movie starts off with Kat (Karsian) celebrating her birthday with friends and family. After some expected meddling into her love life, Kat takes off with her best friend, Sam (Grano), not wanting to hear about her ex, Ray. But her mom’s slipped her a reminder in the form of a present: a trip to a couples counseling retreat. Kat couldn’t hate the idea more, but when Sam suggests they fake being a couple to make use of that awesome pool in the pamphlet, she figures why not.   

Is there a part of them that thinks they’re going to get some laughs out of listening to the real couples attending the Closer to Closeness (seriously) retreat? Absolutely. But they’ve got their own issues too. Sam jumps from relationship to relationship, and Kat’s long-term relationships always have an expiration date. And yet they’ve managed to put up with each other all these years.

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You’d think they would have learned a thing or two in all that time, but no. If they had, Sam would’ve known better than to tell the retreat leaders that the reason Kat won’t be participating much is because she has a social anxiety disorder. Well, of course, Kat hits back and shares that Sam’s nymphomaniac tendencies are hard on her. This is now everyone’s impression of them. Man, these two.

But there are other couples with all kinds of issues too. They also happen to be white. All of them. I wonder if couples counseling retreats are just that expensive, or if white people, in particular, eat this New Age stuff up. At least they’re all equally ridiculous.Three straight couples (four if you count the retreat leaders) and a gay couple join Kat and Sam–they’re all the butt of the joke at one point or another.

Now if you’re not particularly patient, you might get frustrated waiting for that first hint of there being something more between Kat and Sam. But since I’m telling you it is coming, just enjoy these absurd retreat exercises and the further glimpses into the women’s friendship. It’s these moments that make the movie.

When it comes, the turning point moment isn’t even voiced by either Kat or Sam. It’s when older couple Ken (Richard Moll) and Suzie (Jenny O’Hara) tell them they were friends first before they became more that light bulbs seem to go off in their heads. Maybe friends really do make the best lovers…

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And then comes the intimacy exercise that puts their feelings front and center. Not just fun and games anymore, is it, ladies? The eyes are the windows to the soul and these two get all up in each other’s eyes. But, I assure you again, there’s lip action coming. Foreplay has its limits, after all.

But maybe a couples retreat isn’t the best place to figure out you have feelings for your best friend. I would think that’s especially true when you’re around real couples that are actually trying to work through their problems and have no idea that you, the people they’ve been vulnerable with, are frauds. Plus, these women still have the same issues with relationships they had when they left for the retreat. Is it possible they’ll face those issues because that could mean the same happily ever after?

If you think that sounds fantastical, that’s a fair assessment. It’s also fair to ask the question: are these feelings real? Or are they as fake as the story they went into this retreat with? Could this sudden attraction be a product of their environment? And, even if it is, does that mean it’ll go away once they’re back home?

Intrigued? Then watch the movie!

BFFs is coming out on iTunes, Amazon and VOD on June 3. Visit the movie’s website for further details.

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