Never as funny or as farcical as it could have been
Have you ever had a boy/girlfriend that you wanted out of your life? If so, you will know that saying goodbye isn’t necessarily easy, especially when the other person still thinks there is a chance in a relationship, despite your insistence that it’s over!
If you have had that experience, you will probably relate to My Fake Boyfriend which chronicles the experiences of Andrew (Keiynan Lonsdale) who wants shut of his macho hunk of a boyfriend. Unfortunately, Nico (Marcus Rosner), the guy in question, is unwilling to let go of Andrew and won’t accept rejection.
So, what does Andrew do? Well…nothing really but his best friends Jake (Dylan Sprouse) and Kelly (Sarah Hyland) step in to solve Andrew’s problem for him. They manufacture a fake boyfriend named Cristiano Maradona and create social media profiles for the imagined fellow. They then post fake photos online of Cristiano and Andrew together to make Nico jealous.
Andrew isn’t happy about his friends’ intervention but as their ruse seems to work, at least for a while, he is finally able to get Nico off his back.
But matters are made complicated when Andrew falls for Rafi (Samir Salem), a guy he meets at a cooking class, as he is unable to pursue a relationship with him due to his fake boyfriend. This doesn’t stop Andrew from hanging out with the guy but as Cristiano inexplicably becomes internet famous, Rafi is fully aware that Andrew isn’t ‘on the market.’
As such, Andrew has to be content with a friendship with the man he is falling in love with. As the movie progresses, he realizes he needs to end his relationship with Cristiano somehow. But therein lies the problem: how do you end a relationship with a boyfriend that didn’t exist in the first place?
The premise of the movie isn’t a bad one but this is never as funny or as farcical as it could have been. This is partly because of the script which fails to capitalize on the silliness of the movie’s concept and partly because some of the characters in this story (Jake and Kelly I’m looking at you) grate on the nerves rather than tickle the funny bone.
Thankfully, there are a few laughs to be had when Leo (Matthew Finlan) arrives on the scene, a young man who has an uncomfortable first date with Andrew early on in the movie. Their scene together is ridiculous and fun and there are further laughs to be had when Leo pops up again later on in the movie when we see him working as a waiter at Rafi’s restaurant.
Finlan is an able comedy performer and it’s just a shame that there wasn’t more of him in the movie. Leo is infinitely more interesting than some of the other characters we get to meet but as we spend more time with them rather than with him, the movie becomes rather tedious as a consequence.
The lack of sustained comedy isn’t the movie’s only problem. There are moments in My Fake Boyfriend that strain credibility, such as Cristiano’s surprising popularity online. He quickly gains 3 million Instagram followers and becomes an influencer, despite the fact that he doesn’t actually exist.
Of course, it’s Jake pulling all the strings from behind the scenes but it’s still hard to believe that Cristiano could gain the following that he does. I’m not that well versed in social media but I’m sure it takes a fair amount of time to build up a fanbase. This isn’t what happens here as Cristiano seems to become a massive hit in no time at all!
Despite my criticisms, the movie isn’t altogether bad. It’s nice to see a rom-com featuring gay rather than straight characters and for once, they don’t all fall into simple stereotypes. Comparisons can be made with Fire Island, another recent comedy that featured a gay group of characters looking for love, although that movie was funnier and raunchier than this one.
Andrew and Rafi are both likeable characters and their scenes together are rather charming and sweet. More time exploring their relationship would have been nice but their time in the movie is cut short due to a subplot involving the irritating Jake and Kelly and their on-off relationship.
With a sharper script, My Fake Boyfriend could have been more insightful, with a deeper look at the complexities of modern dating within the LGBTQ community. It could have made sharper observations about social media obsession and celebrity fandom too. Unfortunately, the script only scratches the surface of such themes so the movie doesn’t really have anything new to say.
If it was funnier and more interestingly written, this wouldn’t be such a major problem. But as it stands, this is a mostly mediocre movie with only Leo and the central relationship between Andrew and Rafi to recommend it.
Verdict - 5/10