Sep 4, 2016

[Movies] 4th Man Out

So we recently signed up for Netflix and have occasionally taken to skimming the library for things to watch during odd hours. This movie represents the first LGBT-related piece that we ended up watching, although my expectations were pretty low given the show's premise and the general lack of familiar names.

4th Man Out feels a bit more straight that gay and thus lives in that happy valley that makes it a bit more acceptable to people in a wider audience yet still generally okay with LGBT audiences. It wasn't amazing and it wasn't life-changing but it was pretty okay.

I think the only remarkable thin about this movie is just how generally likeable and almost neutral it is. It still has the sort of jokes you'd expect from a story about straight guys coming to term with one of their longtime friends turning out to be gay, but I guess that's Hollywood for you. But it's just not a great movie nor is it a terrible one - it's just sort of generally quaint and nice and unexceptional.

Synopsis: 4th Man Out is an LGBT comedy directed by Andrew Nackman with a screenplay by Aaron Dancik. The movie won the Best Narrative Film award at the 2015 Chicago Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival among other awards.

Adam (Evan Todd) is a mechanic who is just about to come out to his best friend Chris (Parker Young) along with other friends Ortu (Jon Gabrus) and Nick (Chord Overstreet). The four hang out a lot and have the usual stuff like poker nights or times when they watch football games together and of course all that is going to change when Adam finally tells them he's gay. It takes him a while but he does get around to it and the crew do their best to be supportive after they get over the usual stereotypical shock and silliness that movies like this celebrate. And how they try to support him is where the comedy lies.

What I Liked: The movie has a sense of charm and quaintness that permeates the whole story. Everyone is generally likeable but not necessarily lovable. Adam's aspirations for love are still endearing but he still falls prey to many stereotypes. His best friend Chris is obviously very close indeed to the point of it becoming the sort of bromance that you could insinuate to be something more.

The movie keeps its generally positive tone by keeping the ending light, a little open-ended, but at least not negative.

What Could Have Been Better: The movie feels like something from the early 2000s in terms of gay comedies of this nature. When you think about movies like All Over the Guy or even The Broken Hearts Club, it feels like this movie was from around that period in terms of humor and sensibilities. And in that sense it does feel a little dated or perhaps a little too safe. In that regard it's not bad - just a little unremarkable. It felt like something we've seen before. It even had the inevitable discussion of Adam actually being in love with Chris, as if we've never had to deal with the loving your straight best friend trope.

The rest of the cast beyond those two is a little unremarkable, and this is despite Overstreet being from Glee fame and all. I didn't get the whole neighbor persona and the involvement of the mother felt a little late no matter how much I loved Kate Flannery in The Office. Just so many weird extraneous moments! And don't get me started on the inevitable forray into Adam trying gay online dating.

TL;DR: 4th Man Out is a quaint, just okay LGBT movie that isn't bad, isn't good - it's just nice. I don't feel bad about watching it on Netflix but I also wish the library included more substantial fare than this. Thus the movie gets a decent 3 bad dates that Adam goes on out of a possible 5.


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