Dating is hard. Especially for a gay man living in New York City; which is exactly the message “My Fake Boyfriend” sends to viewers and perhaps the most consistent. “My Fake Boyfriend” follows Andrew (Keiynan Lonsdale) on a quest to finally break up with his toxic boyfriend Nico (Marcus Rosner) for good. Because of Andrew’s love for Nico, he is going to need some help. In steps, Andrew’s best friend Jake (Dylan Sprouse). With the help of Jake’s girlfriend Kelly (Sarah Hyland), they create Andrew an AI boyfriend to finally help him drop Nico. Sounds complicated, right?
Unfortunately, that is the only innovative part of the plot line because the rest of the movie is your typical rom-com. In the midst of the “big lie,” Andrew actually meets a real man that he is attracted to, restaurateur Rafi (Samer Salem), but his relationship with AI Cristiano (Jaden Goetz) threatens to ruin a potential relationship for Andrew.
In essence, “My Fake Boyfriend” raises many questions that are currently plaguing the gay community. Is monogamy an outdated concept? What does it mean to date in the gay community? Are apps like Grindr, Jack’d, and Growler helpful or harmful? Of course, there is no wrong or right answer to any of these questions, but the debates are still worth it.
As far as a rom-com goes, while the romance is heavy the comedy is not. The comical moments are based around Leo (Matthew Finlan), a white gay who is a perpetual victim in every sense of the word. His dramatics and quest to be the center of attention in the two scenes he is in grant some comic relief.
Rom-coms are a unique genre of film. The genre brings so many people together for an easy watch. In a world that is seemingly dominated by constantly having to provide social commentary on any movie you watch; rom-coms allow their audiences to just enjoy the time they have with the movie. Is it impossible to watch a rom-com and analyze the film? Absolutely Not. I could discuss that Jake’s “save a gay” mentality is somewhat problematic. That he is a terrible friend and boyfriend. I could discuss the fact that Nico is a narcissistic abuser. I could even discuss the impending doom that AI technology is going to bring.
However, that is not what we as audience members like to think about when we watch rom-coms. For gay men especially, we have not had many films that focus on gay romance without the backdrop of trauma. For Pride month, it is especially important for queer people to see themselves without having to be reminded of their oppression. We know it exists, however, movies invite escapism for their audiences, and for queer people, we have not had many movies that cater to just queer people being queer.
Andrew’s search for a relationship full of compassion, trust, and simply love is something that every viewer, queer or straight, can relate to. The anxiety of ending one relationship and jumping right into another; the queer struggle of finding someone but not knowing if that person is queer or not; The internal conflict of if you are falling too fast or too slow; are questions all of us ask ourselves and each other. “My Fake Boyfriend” tackles all of these questions in an easy way to reflect on.
It’s pride month! Invite some friends over, grab some popcorn, or cuddle up with your partner and watch “My Fake Boyfriend”. Is it a perfect film? Of course not. However, with the specular acting coming from Lonsdale, Sprouse, and Salem you will enjoy the ride the film takes you on. The chemistry between Lonsdale and Salem is mesmerizing and the few laughs you will have are worth it.
“My Fake Boyfriend” is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video!
For more from Deareyes, check out his review of The Secrets of Dumbledore here!