A FOUR LETTER WORDNR
God bless those gay filmmakers of a certain genre, as exemplified by Casper Andreas’ A Four Letter Word. After all this time, they persist in reinventing the wheel—i.e., making yet more sprightly comedies which reveal the havoc of hooking up in an all-too-licentious, permissive queer world. Filled with splashy cruise bars, nurturingly rotund fag hags, intense lesbians, even more intense drag queens, and ridiculously buff boys, boys, boys, all with one thing on their minds, we’ve been there, done that, but they just keep coming.
Luke (Jesse Archer, who manages to repel while he charms) finds himself attacked by all sides of his community as a “gay cliché” for his incessant sexual activity. He decides to attempt settling down with Stephen (Charlie David), but what to do when the guy keeps lying to him, starting from the fact that he is far from a trust-fund baby and in reality a hustler? Chief among the tongue-cluckers who surround Luke is his co-worker Zeke (the appealing Cory Grant), a tireless gay activist, who may just want the irrepressible Luke for his very own.
The film is balls-out in-your-face—literally, one might add, for it does not stint from full-frontal male nudity. While one may decry the nonstop barrage of dick-related jokes and badinage—with the ratio of funny to not being about one to four—there is no denying that Andreas is really trying to say something about the difficulty of real intimacy in a society where easy sex lies in wait on every corner of Manhattan. He’s helped by the cinematography of Jon Fordham, who has given the film an expensive, high-gloss look that makes lil’ ole gay New York look every bit as appealing as in any Woody Allen epic.
Other visuals are less successful, as in Luke’s garish eyesore of a wardrobe which makes him something of a gay Stella Dallas. And, while it may currently be the metrosexual fashion, all those seriously plucked eyebrows on nearly every male cast member may someday look as ridiculous as ’80s mullets. Gentlemen, please! You’re riding the subway, not Shanghai Express, so why look like Marlene Dietrich?