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Review: 4th Man Out

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Every once and awhile, a film is released that really sticks with you for some reason. Maybe it resonated because you had an experience similar to the story, or it had you laughing so hard your sides still hurt the next morning, or it was gory in a way that made you uncomfortable.

4th Man Out is one of those movies. No, it’s not gory (there’s a lot of talk about ribs but that’s more of a culinary discussion), but it is relatable. Evan Todd (Switched at Birth) stars as Adam, a mechanic in his 20s who makes the difficult yet unavoidable decision to come out to his friends. Under even the best of circumstances, this is a major shift in their group dynamic, and the film spends a good amount of time exploring what that means.

While not everyone has had the experience of coming out to their friends and family, the relatable factor here is that it’s hard not to put yourself in either Adam’s shoes, or those of his friends as they embark on this new chapter with him. The group includes Adam’s best friend Chris (Parker Young) who is most affected by the news as he deals with how to be supportive, even though he doesn’t fully understand what Adam is going through. Nick (Chord Overstreet) and Ortu (Jon Gabrus) provide a great amount of comic relief as they stumble awkwardly through the process of Adam’s changing identity. The goal is not to say the wrong thing, and they usually fail with delightful results. Gabrus especially shines with a consistently hilarious performance that never feels like it’s over the top.

hff2015-fourth-man-out-3Audiences will recognize Kate Flannery (The Office) as Adam’s somewhat overbearing mother, though it becomes clear very quickly that she just wants him to find happiness. A highlight of the film is Adam coming out to his family in the presence of an overzealous neighbor and a Catholic priest, and while most actors would have played up their reactions for the camera, the subtle performances in this scene are what make it funny – and extremely uncomfortable. In this instance, that’s a good thing.

A comedy about four friends dealing with a member of their group being gay could have easily taken it to the raunchy, cliched place that so many films do, but that’s where 4th Man Out is separated from the pack. A script by Aaron Dancik highlights the humor and the drama of this situation in just the right places. Scenes where Adam goes on several blind dates are masterfully executed by director Andrew Nackman, who nails the awkward tone that will resonate with anyone who has ever had a bad first date. Doug Moe (Inside Amy Schumer) is especially hysterical as the guy who keeps inviting Adam to his basement…for what, we can only imagine.

Equal parts humorous and heartwarming, 4th Man Out is an excellent example of filmmaking that explores a major change in someone’s life from all perspectives, and does so in a refreshing way. It’s real, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s out February 5th. This is one not to be missed.

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