Stop forcing Dorothy Cuda on me!
After the disaster-piece that was “Aimy in a Cage”, I was actually contemplating stopping reviewing films, that’s how bad it was. I even started writing an article a few days later in which I actually rank the films that I’ve reviewed on this site and put the worst ten into a list, and “Aimy in a Cage” comfortably won (if that’s the right word) the dubious honour of being the worst film that I have review on this site, and more importantly, is still one of the worst films that I have ever seen. That list will never be published but yeah, it also made me quit reviewing films.
I left it a few days whilst desparately searching for a relatively newish film that looked like it would actually fall into the “approved” category, and I think I may have found it with “4th Man Out”, a story following the immediate aftermath of a guy coming out of his friends as gay.
Whilst I’m not gay, I am transgender (as I have mentioned in a few previous reviews) and I think the reactions are pretty similar in both situations, albeit with their odd differences here and there, and so I was curious to see if this would actually be fairly realistic and seemingly true to life, and I am optimistic following the trailer that it will be……then again, I’ve been tricked by trailers before!
I also don’t review comedies that often on this site either, so this will make a nice change (hopefully).
Adam (Todd) goes out to celebrate his 24th birthday with his friends. He becomes increasingly uncomfortable as Chris (Young), Nick (Overstreet) and Ortu (Gabrus) make gay jokes and the following morning he finally plucks up the courage to tell the group that he is infact homosexual. Despite the trio promising that nothing will change, Adam notices that they are less comfortable around him, but they are generally supportive.
After finally feeling the pressure lifted, Adam starts to date a few guys, although none of the dates go well, especially with Brad (Moe), who effectively starts stalking him. Date after date fails, and Adam’s homosexuality is often referenced by a girl (Damiano) that Chris is trying to date but can’t remember the name of, saving her name on his phone as “train” following a drunken night out.
As Chris continues to struggle to get the girl to like him, she points out that Adam is obviously attracted to him, and this makes Chris a little wary, especially when Adam innocently misreads him leaning over to grab the remote control as an attempt at kissing, and tries to respond in kind.
Have I been tricked by a trailer again?
Nope, this film is pretty much as the trailer described and that is wonderfully refreshing, especially in an independent film in which it would be so easy to lie about so many aspects of the plot and characters.
I’m going to start with with what is my only real complaint in this movie and that is that I can’t recall a single conversation that Adam shares with pretty much anyone that doesn’t somehow revolve around his homosexuality. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that it’s the main plot of the film, but there just doesn’t seem to be that much depth to his character and it’s the only thing that he’s concerned about.
As mentioned above, I am transgender and obviously had to come out to people at some point, yet I was able to hold conversations about other things and I find it highly unlikely that anyone who comes out will talk about nothing else other than their sexuality.
Other than that though, the dialogue throughout is pretty true to life. A lot of the quotes from characters do sum up stereotypical thoughts that a lot of people have about homosexual men, such as one character commenting that Adam can’t be gay because he fixes car engines for a living. This smartly references that a lot of people stereotype homosexual men as overly effeminate men and doing what is arguably a masculine task isn’t what gay men do.
There is also an interesting discussion in which the characters joke around who is homosexual and one of them says something along the lines of “I’m can’t be gay, I have a fantasy football team and I like Die Hard.” It’s such clever dialogue because it tells you all that you need to know about the character in question. The characters do try and support Adam, but it’s evidenced that they somewhat uncomfortable about it as well.
As a comedy it works well and there are numerous bits that did make me laugh, even if they weren’t designed to be laugh-out-loud lines, such a woman saying that she was late because she was watching Ghostbusters and got distracted, or one of the characters following up
The soundtrack works very well in “4th Man Out” and is definitely one of the better soundtracks from the films that I’ve reviewed. Each sets off the mood of the scene very well and much like fellow LGBT film “Zerophilia”, it works very well as it’s a small-scale town that they seem to be in, and the music is much more humble than in larger-scale movies.
This also follows into the acting. All act out their characters very well and it was a relief to see that Gabrus (who resembles a discount Jack Black) wasn’t used as comic relief for his weight. Granted, there is one scene in which he covers up his body with a bath-robe, but even then the weight isn’t really address at any time and this made a nice change. Usually the overweight friend is made fun of because of his weight all of the way through a film, but I can’t recall a single time that happened in “4th Man Out”.
It’s such a relief to be able to give an approval stamp after watching the disaster piece that was “Aimy in a Cage”. This in many ways was the perfect film to follow this one up with as it was exactly what it needed to be to be enjoyable.
Don’t get me wrong, “4th Man Out” is far from a perfect movie, and I would argue that the rating of just 6/10 on IMDB is about right (maybe slightly too low) but it works and that’s why I’m giving it the stamp. It was an enjoyable way to spend 85 or so minutes of my life and I was never bored.
The dialogue is the key foundations of this film and it’s all pretty realistic, if you ignore that Adam doesn’t seem to have a single conversation that doesn’t somehow revolve around his sexuality.