At last, a documentary about my favorite word of all time, "fuck." Now if the word fuck offends you, you may as well stop reading now because fuck is my favorite word, and the film is called Fuck, so I'm not going to shy away from using it.
Fuck doesn't have a big outline to begin with. It's mostly built of vignette interviews with media personalities, politicians, scholars, and the sort. The film, though it revolves around the use of the word "fuck," is mostly about the reds and blues in America. The film is divided into neat little sections (or vignettes) that all begin with fuck: Fuck Politics, Fuck TV, Fuck Movies, etc., all with people representing the liberal and conservative sides rambling on and on about their ideological viewpoints.
Thankfully we have comedians and queasy conservatives. Drew Carey, going on and on about class distinction. George Carlin's 1978 HBO special about the seven dirty words you can't say on TV (and he says them all). Then they bring out the big gun, Billy Connelly. Now that guy just doesn’t let it go and is of course hilarious as usual.
Most entertaining is witnessing the conservatives squirming not to say the word and trying to defend their point of view. Especially the uptight Michael Medved and Miss Manners, Judith Martin, who after too much embarrassment is seen unplugging her microphone and leaving the interview.
A shockumentary on the word fuck would be incomplete without the ubiquitous presence of Ron Jeremy. Is there a fucking documentary on pop-culture in which he doesn't appear? They also had other porn stars, such as Tera Patrick and her husband Evan Seinfeld.
Sure the documentary is funny as hell, how could it not be? With a DVD feature like a curse counter, incrementing every time the word fuck is mentioned, it's pretty funny. By the way, the word fuck — with all its colored nuances and variances — is used over 800 times in less than 90 minutes, making for an average of 8.88 uses of the word fuck every minute.
But the documentary is fucked, if you pardon my French. To begin with all the interviews are shot with a black backdrop, making the overall appearance bland and kinda boring after a while. And after six years of Bush in power, even this lefty is getting tired of red vs. blue docs over trite subject matter that only distracts from real issues.
I was expecting a documentary on the word fuck; instead it was yet another doc on ideological division in America. I was expecting some background research; it is a documentary after all. Some more history other than the rapid-fire debunking that fuck wasn't an acronym for Fornicating Under Consent of the King or something of the sort.
All we were treated to was an endless barrage of Hollywood stars pitted against conservative talk radio folks, all set up to mock the right. And it was an obvious set up to mock the right's prudish and Victorian attitude towards self-expression. This just plays into conservatives' constant paranoid conspiracy accusations that Hollywood is out to destroy American values.
If you are going to make a documentary on a dirty word go the way of philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt who wrote a fantastic book called On Bullshit and went all out to make a dirty word intelligible, not just spin it into life by having stars quote they favorite use of the word.
It could have been so much more. More intelligent, more in-depth, more penetrating, more stimulating. I just can't put my finger on it but this bird just doesn't fly. I wasn't even interested in seeing the DVD extras on this title. The documentary itself has little structure and just feels like it's rambling on in an amateurish sort of way. There's too little substance and much too much flash. To much importance is given to the political aspect and you get this from the beginning as Janeane Garofalo -– at the very beginning of the film -– starts ranting about Reagan setting America two steps back and then Bush, sixteen steps back. I just wanted out. I had enough. "Fuck it" I thought.
Rating: 2 out of 5