If you're looking for a romantic comedy with a worrying twist that doesn't really quite land, here's your latest LGBTQ+ offering.
'My Fake Boyfriend' predominantly follows stunt man Andrew (Keiynan Lonsdale) who is hung up on his extremely toxic actor boyfriend, Nico (Marcus Rosner). No matter how many times they break up, Nico manages to worm his way back into Andrew's heart, much to the dismay of his best friends, childhood sweethearts Kelly and Jake (played by Sarah Hyland and Dylan Sprouse). After the couple's tenth breakup, Andrew's meddling friends decide to take matters into their own hands and create a perfect - and fake - "boyfriend" for their friend, Christiano, in order to make Nico jealous. However, when a potential new love enters the picture, will Andrew be able to begrudgingly keep on top of his web of lies while simultaneously falling for the man of his dreams?
Tuning into 'My Fake Boyfriend', one might try to just go with the flow. Sure, on the surface it sounds like a very believable subject matter; creating a fake online presence to get the upper hand - there's even a reality dating show based on it. But this romantic comedy takes the fakeness much too far for it to ever be believable. Jake, now jobless and with lots of time to kill, jumps head-first into creating this fake profile for fake Christiano, and judging from his photoshop skills, this guy should be working with Marvel or NASA or some other high-tech, high-profile company, because his skills are excruciatingly good. So good, in fact, that Christiano looks like a real person... Well, he actually is.
Real-life model Jaden Goetz plays the role of the "fake boyfriend", and it's so painfully obvious that there's no "photoshop" involved here in the social media pictures between himself and Andrew. It takes you right out of the film - if they were going for believability the pictures would at least look somewhat doctored, right? Well, at least Jake's "pictures" gives Sprouse and Rosner a silly montage of them messing around with a green screen and a morph suit, to make us laugh? It's all a bit hammy and not all that fun to be honest.
Jake is easily the most problematic character on-screen (and that's including the rather sadistic ex-boyfriend on the scene), getting far too meddled in his friend's life for his own good. What starts out as minorly believable sidesteps into the majorly unbelievable, losing its audience's patience in the process. There's a darkness to Jake's obsessiveness with Christiano that even Hyland's upbeat nature can't help navigate; it feels out of place in a romantic comedy such as this where the focus really should be on the queer representation.
Jake is a long line of unlikable characters to show their faces in 'My Fake Boyfriend', and so your heart really does go out for Lonsdale's Andrew, whose gentile approach is surrounded by a crazy ex-boyfriend, a pair of interfering friends and an ever-inquisitive mother (Karen Robinson from 'Schitt's Creek') - it sees him become rather forgotten along the way.
Every film has a message rooted somewhere in it - but what's this one? Don't meddle in your friend's love life? Don't create a fake profile online? Don't get back with your ex for the tenth time? Or is it something more subtle, like making acquaintances with your neighbour so they can distract your friend with a seemingly endless game of chess?
'My Fake Boyfriend' is just another rom-com that delivers minimal laughs with maximum predictability while making its main character so forgettable.