Many girls --- of all ages --- have a female best friend --- or group of friends. And then there are those women who only have guy friends --- something I’ve never  understood, but hey --- whatever makes one happy. GUY FRIENDS is director, writer, producer, cinematographer, editor, sound mixer and voice of “Terrence”, Jonathan Smith’s fourth feature film and in which he examines this phenomenon.


Jaime Sharma (Kavita Jariwala in her acting debut) is a “guy’s girl”. All her friends are male. She’s so clueless about this that in one of the funniest scenes in GUY FRIENDS, she rebuffs an overture from a woman who’s walking her dog --- a dog Jamie stops to pet. When the dog owner suggests they get together --- as friends --- Jaime turns her down explaining she doesn’t own a pup.


She shares a rather swanky New York City apartment with her lawyer boyfriend, Patrick (Mike Dahlgren). Jaime moves through her day, beloved by every guy she encounters; her neighbor, her doorman, her barista, her ride-share driver --- even her boss, the famous architect, Mr. Vanderbilt (Patrick Collins).


When Patrick ends their relationship, news travels fast and beginning with her neighbor, each and every one of the males in her life profess their undying love for Jaime. She turns to her best friend from college, Ted (Justin Clark), who just moved to NYC, for advice. He enlists his new girlfriend, Sandy (Katie Muldowney), to help. Sandy wastes no time opening Jaime up to the world of female bonding --- and some hard truths about herself.


Filmed predominantly in black-and-white with only the occasional scene in color, GUY FRIENDS is a breathtaking homage to NYC, reminiscent of Woody Allen’s ode MANHATTAN. Smith’s cinematography is jaw-dropping, with many shots worthy of a private showing in a photo art gallery.


However, not only is his film beautifully photographed, it’s extremely well written --- and hilarious. There are many laugh-out-loud scenes, proving Smith’s talent for writing. If you have been following David and me over the years, we have always maintained that comedy is the most difficult genre to pen, but Smith manages a triumph.


All of this is great, but for a movie to be successful, the acting must also be exceptional. Here again, Smith proves his strength as a filmmaker by assembling a terrific cast. Jariwala is an Indian-American nurse in NYC --- and Smith’s future sister-in-law. She does an amazing job portraying Jaime --- quite a feat for a first-time actor. She’s truly lovely, funny and has a very self-possessed screen presence.


And Jariwala, Clark and Muldowney have tremendous chemistry --- they just click. Clark plays the sweet, even-keeled Ted perfectly --- who wouldn’t want a best friend/boyfriend like him? On the other hand, Muldowney is hysterical as the bold, outspoken girlfriend who takes Jaime under her wing and introduces her to the wonders of female friendships. Muldowney is an absolute breath of fresh air.


GUY FRIENDS pretty much hits all the notes necessary for an entertaining film. It even boasts an impressive original score by Emi Nishida, which coincides with the outstanding photography and storyline flawlessly.


Opinion: Strong See It Now!


Opening in theaters in NYC, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Sarasota on May 31.


Also available to stream on Apple TV, Amazon and others on May 31.




GUY FRIENDS just might be the surprise sleeper hit of the summer --- or even 2024. Directed, written and produced by Jonathan Smith, this film boasts a solid ensemble cast delivering on its hilarious premise. Smith also edited, was part of the sound mixing, did the extraordinary cinematography --- and even provided the voice for one of the unseen admirers of Jaime Sharma.


Jaime is portrayed by Kavita Jariwala in her screen debut which earned Jariwala the Breakthrough Female Performance at Festival of Cinema NYC in 2023. Her character suffers the breakup of her relationship with Patrick (Michael Dahlgren) and announces it in a wine-fueled post on social media.


This leads to every male in her life professing their undying love for her, even though she never led any of them on or gave any indication she felt the same way. These guy friends are all played by able comedic actors, but the most memorable are Phillip, her doorman in New York, (Brett Eidman), and her elderly architect boss Mr. Vanderbilt (Patrick Collins).


Others with whom she has had at least a passing social relationship are a neighbor, a ride-share driver, a barista and an unseen friend from Seattle named Terrence (voiced by Smith). Terrence goes so far as to fly from Seattle to New York without Jamie’s approval or prior knowledge. But all their reactions to her indifference are hilarious.


Jariwala is not alone in carrying this unique film. Justin Clark plays a long-time male friend, Ted, who is involved with a young woman named Sandy (Katie Muldowney). Eventually they get engaged but not before Jamie and Sandy become close friends. Muldowney, in only her second movie, is superb as she offers Jaime advice about all things male.


GUY FRIENDS is highly entertaining. For one thing, we’re not at all sure how Smith will wrap it up. But he does manage to tie all the loose ends together, including the clever use of T-shirts that Jamie employs to overtly acknowledge her admirers.


Smith photographed his film primarily in black-and-white. But when an off-screen interviewer asks various female friends on the streets of New York how they met, suddenly those shots are in full color. One thing is certain --- GUY FRIENDS wastes not a word of dialogue and its concise 84-minute runtime is so worth your time.


Opinion: Strong See It Now!


Opening in theaters in NYC, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix and Sarasota on May 31.


Also available to stream on Apple TV, Amazon and others on May 31.