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“Guy Friends” Offers Feminist Fable

Written by: Adam Vaughn | May 30th, 2024

Guy Friends (Jonathan Smith, 2024) 3½ out of 5 stars

Jonathan Smith’s newest film tackles the ultimate dilemma for women: how the heck does a woman deal with her guy friends? When Jaime (Kavita Jariwala) and her boyfriend, Patrick (Michael Dahlgren), decide to take a break from each other, Jaime’s numerous male friends waste no time in pronouncing their love for her. On top of that, Jaime is awoken to the realization that she has never developed a strong, friendly relationship with a woman. While she dodges various hearts and googly eyes, Jaime learns the value of being friends with someone other than a guy.

Guy Friends certainly jumps with enthusiasm scene to scene, delivering a much-appreciated, lighthearted sense of comedy that deviates from today’s vulgar and profane films. While still containing adult themes, the movie features fine timing, developing various characters along the way. The dynamic between Jaime and her new female friend, Sandy (Katie Muldowney), is charming and fully compels both the story and the director’s feminist ideas. Style-wise, Guy Friends makes a bold choice of being shot almost entirely in black and white, accompanied by solid composition and editing.

Kavita Jariwala in GUY FRIENDS ©Vile Henchmen Productions

Sadly, Guy Friends leans heavily on the idea that each and every man in Jaime’s life, while they may aesthetically differ and diversify, are one-dimensional humans. The first few times Smith uses repetition for comedic effect it is quite effective and very funny. With the exception of Mr. Vanderbilt (Patrick Collins), the men in this film are marginalized as running jokes, and Dahlgren’s superficial douchebag-boyfriend role doesn’t help. Towards the film’s finale, Smith finds one last, quippy way of tying all the men together, whilst unintentionally degrading them one last time.

Needless to say, Smith may very well be making this point purposefully in a comedy about a woman discovering her potential, learning her self-worth, and making a lifelong friend. Guy Friends stays consistent and overall fair in its tone, and never lets up on having an honest and innocent sense of humor throughout, relying on dialogue and gags. Women of our era will find an absolutely relatable story, and viewers of all genders will find a lighthearted good time.

l-r: Katie Muldowney and Kavita Jariwala in GUY FRIENDS ©Vile Henchmen Productions

Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

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