4th Man Out

Posted by Joel Copling on February 10, 2016

The two men meet in a restaurant after a dating website has paired them together. One is our protagonist, a 24-year-old man who has just come out to his three best friends after a decade of being in the figurative closet. The other is, with the exception of our protagonist, the only person with questionable sexuality whom we see for an extended period of time, and that is apparent when he propositions our protagonist for mutual gratification of the oral sort. The kicker is this is not the first time Adam (Evan Todd), said hero of the story, has had dinner with this man. Indeed, the proposition came just after the man's insistence that his marriage is a happy one. The first date, then, was when Adam finds out that the man has a "totally legit" basement he would like to show Adam.

This, according to the tone of the scene as penned by screenwriter Aaron Dancik, is the ideal gay experience: running back, in a moment of gutting disappointment, to the clingy, creepy, married guy whose sexuality is psychopathic in nature. "4th Man Out" holds a view of homosexuality that is somewhere below stereotypical on the spectrum of political correctness. This is a movie, after all, in which Adam comes out to his mother (Kate Flannery) partly by way of sticking a sausage into his mouth and shoving it back and forth (Get it?). Not only that: He does in full view of the local priest and that nosy, fundamentalist lady from next door, Martha (Brooke Dillman), who suggests at one point that Adam should go to intensive psychological therapy (You know the kind).

"Oh, but, wait," you reply, "does the movie at least have compassion for Adam?" It does not, and as proof, I point to the reactions from every one of his so-called "best" friends. Chris (Parker Young), at least, tries to make a go of keeping his friendship with Adam on even ground, but that doesn't stop him from referring to the basest gay stereotypes in his attempts at being a matchmaker. Nick's (Chord Overstreet) constant refrain is to ask who "turned Adam gay," even blaming himself because of his good looks. Ortu (Jon Gabrus), the resident, wise-cracking slob of the group, is content to ask Adam really demeaning things under the guise of only doing so out of love. These three epitomize the popular shorthand for fraternity known as "bro."

The attitude is reflective of a movie that constantly trivializes the central issue it apparently wants to highlight (that one's sexuality should change nothing about a group dynamic after the outing moment) by making it an elephant in the room in the most demoralizing way possible. Another strange accomplishment: Dancik and director Andrew Nackman manage to use homosexuality as a jumping-off point to objectify women, who must always be a goal for these three. Nackman also botches simple blocking and composition on an aesthetic angle (Everything looks just less distinctive than a made-for-cable production). Mostly, though, "4th Man Out," just like his three friends, cannot believe that Adam is gay. The nerve.

Film Information

Evan Todd (Adam), Parker Young (Chris), Chord Overstreet (Nick), Jon Gabrus (Ortu), Jennifer Damiano (Rachel), Jordan Lane Price (Jessica), Alex Rennie (Paul), Jake Epstein (Marc), Brooke Dillman (Martha), Kate Flannery (Karen).

Directed by Andrew Nackman and written by Aaron Dancik.

No MPAA rating.

86 minutes.

Released in select cities on February 5, 2016.