‘Gayby’ Review: Comedy Plays Like ‘Will & Grace’ Without Karen

“Gayby,” the story about a straight woman and a gay man trying to have a baby together, may be best suited for a rainy Sunday on Netflix

Last Updated: February 15, 2013 @ 5:04 PM

Gayby, in case you’re puzzled, is a neologism that the UrbanDictionary.com defines as a baby with one or more parents of the non-straight persuasion.

In “Gayby,” a slender, eager-to-please, low-budget comedy, a straight woman and a gay man, best friends since college, decide to have a baby together when they both find themselves in their mid-30s and unattached.

Jenn (Jenn Harris), who’s an instructor at a yoga studio, and Matt (Matthew Wilkas), a sales clerk at a comic books store, begin doing their best to have a baby the old-fashioned way. At the same time, each is continuing to go out on dates and even hooking up sexually with potential new partners.

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As the one-liners fly and eccentric secondary characters (a moody painter, a domineering sister, a queeny friend, etc.) pop in and out, our main couple keeps at the babymaking.

All of this plays like an episode of “Will & Grace,” minus Karen. It’s not until you sit through “Gayby” that you realize just how crucial crazy Karen (played by the magnificent Megan Mullally) was to keeping the long-running NBC series comically aloft.

Also key to “Will & Grace” was the stereotypically gay Jack (Sean Hayes). The Jack character in “Gayby” is Nelson (Jonathan Lisecki), an old-school flamer even as he insists he’s a bear. Lisecki, who also wrote and directed “Gayby,” gives himself all the best lines, vamping and sniping his way through scenes like Bette Davis’ Margo Channing during the “bumpy night” party in “All About Eve.” He’s funny, but a little Lisecki goes a long way.

Like so many indies these days, “Gayby” would be modestly entertaining if encountered while channel flipping, or streamed off Netflix on a rainy Sunday.

It’s too slight and too amateurish, though, to hold its own on a big screen in a movie theater where you’re paying full ticket price, have possibly hired a babysitter (gayby sitter?), and are calling this an evening out.