Volume 77 / Number 46 - April 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Koch on film

By Ed Koch

“A Four Letter Word” (-)

This film is modeled on the engaging and highly rated television series “Sex and the City,” but in this case the characters are overwhelmingly homosexual and the plot, dialogue and acting are not very good.

The story depicts the relationships and personal issues of several homosexual characters. The central character is Luke (Jesse Archer) who works in a porn shop with his friend, Zeke (Cory Grant). Luke, who is described by his lover Stephen (Charlie David) as a “gay cliché,” worries that Stephen may not be all he initially appeared to be. Problems arise between another couple when they move in together and one of them becomes a micro manager. Years ago he or his heterosexual counterpart would have been referred to as “Craig’s wife.” It’s a term that has fallen out of use, but if you’re interested in what it means, look it up on the Internet.

The film critic for The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis, wrote, “Though unlikely to appeal much beyond gay audiences, the movie has something to say about hypocrisy and the dangers of snap judgments. As for the male nudity, well, you won’t hear any complaints from me.”

It seems to me that a breakthrough has occurred in terms of where gay films are being shown. Normally they would play at art houses that show other offbeat movies, but “A Four Letter Word” is playing at Clearview’s Chelsea mainstream theater on West 23rd Street. If this was the movie industry’s attempt to bring a homosexual-themed film with frontal nudity to a mainstream theater, however, it chose the wrong picture. It is simply not very good. The best gay-themed television series as good as “Sex and the City” was “Queer as Folk.” The acting in the British production of the series was head and shoulders above the American version. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth renting the CD.

HS said: “I didn’t think the movie was bad.  It was like a soap opera, with characters representing different roles in the subculture.  The direction and acting were good.  The roles were somewhat stereotypical; the male characters were young and buff, the women rather less so. As to male nudity, there were bits and pieces, but not much more. The title notwithstanding, the film was not obscene.

It was striking to see this movie exhibited at a mainstream multiplex, with cast members speaking after the show. The picture had been held over for a second week, and Caspar Andreas, the director, asked the audience to recommend it to their friends.”

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