Feb 23, 2014

[Movies] A Four Letter Word (2007)

Friday was a little lazy, so I ended up digging through my practically random collection of LGBT movies - but I'll concede most of them can be categorized as gay movies more than anything else. But hey, I try. Well, I sort of try - my interest range also factors into what I end up reviewing here after all.

Unless folks decide to send me screener copies of movies. HINT HINT.

Work's been rather stressful, so I focused on the comedies more than anything else, and admittedly this is a pretty major sub-segment of the gay movie world as we know it. I guess we all just think that we're really that funny - or at least funny among ourselves.

A Four Letter Word isn't something I went out of my way to watch - it just happened to be the only movie in English that was working on that particular back-up DVD. I didn't really know what to expect from it.

It wasn't great, but it was better than I had expected. And that's a good enough of a thing, right?

Synopsis: A Four Letter Word is a 2007 gay comedy movie written and directed by Casper Andreas together with co-screenplay writer Jesse Archer.

At a New York sex shop we meet Luke (Jesse Archer) - your typical sort of gay guy who pretty much spends every waking moment chasing after guys. His co-worker, Zeke (Cory Grant), does his best to prove to be a good example for Luke since he's more focused on important LGBT issues and volunteering - well, apart from selling "toys" for adults. Marilyn (Virgnia Bryan) is our token straight woman and is struggling with her Alcoholics Anonymous sessions. Then there's live-in couple Derek (J.R. Rolley) and Peter (Steven Goldsmith), who are getting used to actually living together and all the intricacies that this entails.

Our area of focus is when Luke hooks up with Stephen (Charlie David), who is rather attractive but once called Luke a "gay stereotype". But Luke is determined to hold onto Stephen and goes as far as trying to become truly monogamous for a change. But Stephen isn't exactly squeaky clean and Zeke helps Luke discover the big secret that Stephen had been hiding all this time.

First up, production value for this movie was surprisingly good given the movie's limited $125,000 budget. Hooray for digital cameras and other advances, I suppose. And it doesn't feel like a home video or anything like that - it's an honesty decent movie. As much as story is important, it also helps when the video quality isn't bad and the whole things ends up feeling like an amateur adult entertainment video, if you catch my drift.

The story itself is quirky, but still interesting. Andreas was a little ambitious in trying to juggle three separate stories all at the same time and I think we could have done with less of that, or perhaps those stories could have been simplified to some extent. The one that suffered the most involved Derek and Peter since all we know is that they had a bit of a fight, they spent a wee bit of time apart, and then they get back together.

It's kind of funny in a sad way that Stephen's character gets away with calling Luke a gay stereotype when he embodies a gay stereotype as well. He's supposed to be the one who's more obviously into his body and also seems to take the time to meticulously pluck their eyebrows and try to look all pretty. But hey, it's a movie and we'll take what we can get.

Although the Luke-Stephen story is pretty much the main arc, it still felt a little shallow and underdeveloped. Their conflicts are horribly petty, even though Luke does generally have some limited basis for being all snoopy and paranoid. But his change of character in trying to be monogamous did feel rather forced even more than it was presented to be and the ending just felt a little odd.

The guys in the movie were mostly pretty fit, although more on the twinky side. So the gratuitous sex scenes weren't entirely disappointing (or at least weren't horrifying). Things are still stay on the comedy side of the equation as much as possible, so that's a good thing. Had this movie gotten too serious, it might have lost all value.

All characters do get resolved, but not in a manner that's at all satisfactory. So A Four Letter Word is decent but nothing amazing and doesn't really contribute anything new to the LGBT movie world. It still rates a decent 3 jokes about sex toys out of 5.

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