Cliché, gay

Posted on 29 May 2008 at 4:07pm
By Steve Warren – Contributing Film Critic

A FOUR LETTER WORD

Stephen (David, left) stops Luke (Archer) in his tracks.



Not that "Slutty Summer" required a sequel, but here it is: another gay cinematic equivalent of empty calories.

This time, director Casper Andreas has written himself out — having been told by enough critics he couldn’t act. But he’s brought back some characters. Flamboyant sex machine Luke (Jesse Archer) has left the restaurant business for a job in a store that sells sexual paraphernalia. There he works with Zeke (Cory Grant), a more serious type who takes a naked yoga class.

The other holdovers, Marilyn (Virginia Bryan) and Peter (Jeffrey Christopher Todd), are in love and working together in another restaurant. Marilyn, who’s been sober for eight months, is engaged to Bart (John Kaisner), who owns the restaurant (oh, let he who’s never screwed his boss cast the first stone!). Peter has been dating Derek (J.R. Rolley) for 10 months, and Derek has just moved in.

Luke is always pointing out four-letter words: home, date, slut and of course love. They’re not hard to find — the dialogue rarely becomes polysyllabic.

The first sign that Luke could be inching toward growing up comes after he hits on Stephen (Charlie David), "a total top," in a bar and is not only rejected but called "a gay cliché." This bothers him because it doesn’t fit with his goal to be exceptional.

After hooking up in a backroom a few nights later, Luke and Stephen go home together, where Stephen totally tops. Stephen wants to see him again and while Zeke points out, "Luke doesn’t date. Too much commitment," they do get together again. And again. But the more Luke finds out about Stephen, the less it jibes with what Stephen has told him about himself.

Meanwhile, Peter isn’t adjusting well to sharing his ordered life with someone else, especially someone so perfect he begins to doubt his own perfection.

Any gay man who doesn’t live in a monastery will relate to one or more of the characters and the issues raised in "A Four Letter Word." Some will see their entire lives flash before them.

That’s what Andreas’ movies have going for them — not great depth or wit, just relatability. There’s a song near the end about "Faggoty Attention," and if you have any, "A Four Letter Word" should hold it.

— Steve Warren


Grade: C+
Opens: May 30 at The Magnolia.

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