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A Four Letter Word
cast: Jesse Archer, Charlie David, and Cory Grant

director: Casper Andreas

87 minutes (18) 2008
widescreen ratio 16:9
TLA DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
One thing that can be very difficult to stomach in movies is stereotypes, like the drunken Scotsman, or kung-fu kicking Chinaman, or the female shopaholic. In the gay drama, and loosely termed comedy, A Four Letter Word, the promiscuous gay man is stereotyped to within inch of his life.

The premise of the film is that Luke (Jesse Archer) is a male slut - he cruises the gay scene, sleeps around and is flamboyantly effeminate with it; in fact, his colleague thinks he is addicted to sex. He works in a sex-toy shop in New York, and surrounds himself with images of himself, or needy friends. But, horror of horrors, Luke falls for Stephen (Charlie David) and there you have that four letter word; the only problem is that Luke can't keep it in his pants.

One of the main problems with A Four Letter Word is that it is simply not that funny, no matter your sexual persuasion. It struggles to raise mirth levels to 'occasional chuckle' and the characters are for the best part pretty obnoxious and disagreeable. Perhaps it is the ham-acting from the amateurish cast, or indeed, the chase for style over substance, but the film just does not satisfy either story-wise or in the creation of any character connection between the viewer and the main protagonists in it.

Another failure is the confusing, and at times unnecessary, detail and subplots. It felt like the director (Casper Andreas) was padding out and rushing the film at the same time. There is just too much of nothing in the un-engaging stories within the main body of the film and it fails to ignite the pique of the viewer.

For my part, I am straight, married with a kid so maybe I am missing something around the gay scene and simply have a poor appreciation of the gay genre, but in the end the story was rubbish, the acting was dreadful, the characterisation was weak and overall the direction stumbles like a drunken man playing hopscotch. This movie does nothing for the bitchy, smarmy and promiscuous stereotype that is so easily badged onto gay men - and, ultimately, it was utterly unconvincing as a character led piece.

All in all, A Four Letter Word is pretty pants, in more ways than one.

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