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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25.53%
Worth A Look55.32%
Average: 12.77%
Pretty Bad: 2.13%
Total Crap: 4.26%

5 reviews, 17 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"As 90 minutes of laughs, it shines. As a doco, it fails miserably."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2006 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL: I'd been told by many people that 'Fuck is awesome', and I wasn't one to disagree. As far as things to do that don't involve strangling Bret Ratner with a bungee cord, 'fuck' is just about the most fun one can have, if you're doing it right. And it makes for a pretty fun word to speak too, which is the subject of this insanely unreleasable film; a veritable case study of how to entertain the hell out of an audience, while simultaneously making a complete failure of a documentary. I loved Fuck - loved every single frame of it - yet it annoyed the heck out of me, for the very same reason Micheal Moore entertains me and disappoints me, both at the same time. Put simply, it's not a documentary as much as a position statement.

Let's be clear, the word 'fuck' has served me well over the years. From the first time I nearly gave my grandmother heart failure by telling her to 'fuck off', to the time I answered a second year Ancient History exam question with the words "No fucking clue", to the completely anonymous female who once asked me 'what the hell do you want' and didn't run away screaming when I gave her my simple, one-word, four-letter answer, some of the finest moments in my life have been punctuated by a curse word that means about six thousand different things, depending on what you surround it with. And since this word is so old, so widely used, and so controversial, It's a perfect topic for a documentary.

What a shame, then, that the people who bothered putting one together didn't actually find out what the definition of 'documentary' is.

Here's what it isn't; it isn't an excuse to get 500 experts on the pro, and 4 non-experts on the con, and spend the following hour and a half painting the cons as wackjobs. It's not a time where you counter hundreds of stand-up comedians, university professors of language, TV producers, rap artists, actors, porn stars, literary legends, journalists, film directors and music legends with Pat Boone and Miss Manners. Seriously, if you want to be shooting fish in a barrel, finding a wackjob like Alan Keyes (who disowned his daughter because she's a lesbian) and letting him talk about how bad parents are these days, then taking his dumbest statements and placing them opposite well spoken, non-insane intelligentsia, is a great way to open both barrels on the barrel-dwelling guppy.

I mean, Billy Connolly, Sam Donaldson and Bill Maher vs Michael Medved? Ice T, Hunter S. Thompson, Lenny Bruce and Kevin Smith vs Miss Manners? Who seriously considers those sorts of line-ups to be even-handed? Who can honestly look at this documentary and, even while agreeing with the conclusions drawn about the subject matter, say that this was a level playing field?

Sure, I love the message. I'll defend to the death my right to swear like a motherfucker - heck, just look at the name of this website - but if I want my side to win the argument over whether 'fuck' should be spoken, I want my side to win it the RIGHT WAY. That means our arguments hold water, our opinions stand tall, and our facts are damn factual. It doesn't mean we get a handful of wingnuts to speak on camera and then take their dumbest statements and put them against our sides smartest quips. It doesn't mean we drown them out with volume, numbers and editing. That sort of thing doesn't win an argument, it necessitates one.

Fuck, as a work of film, is very polished. It's very funny, it hums along at a quick pace, it doesn't let up for a second, and it contains every piece of archival footage I can think of that pertains to the topic at hand, from the famous video store scene from Clerks ("Put It Where It Doesn't Belong, My Pipes Need Cleaning, All Tit-Fucking Volume 8, I Need Your Cock, Ass-Worshipping Rim-Jobbers...) to vintage Lenny Bruce and George Carlin performances, to George W. Bush flipping off the camera and giggling like a schoolgirl when he thinks nobody is looking, and the line-up of fuck supporters is more than impressive.

In fact, it's a damn fun time. I laughed my ass off. Yet, I can't say it was a great film, because the documentary format is very specific. When you make a documentary, you play by certain rules. You don't get creative with editing to sell your point. You don't mislead participants on the nature of the film. You don't line up a barrage of opinions on one side and leave the other side defended by a couple of talk radio morons, an aging crooner, a certifiable Jesus freak, and a newspaper advice columnist whose peak year ended with the number '52.

Michael Moore kills me, not because he isn't right, but because his documentaries take liberties with the format to the point where his own short cuts defeat his message. When you dub your own voice over yourself saying something witty and pretend you said it at the time the footage was shot, you're making yourself a liar. And when you show yourself to be a liar, the true things you say lose impact. Something similar went on with Fuck, and that low road taken undoes all the smart work, the humor, the intelligent opinion and the facts that should have made this the be all and end all that refutes anyone who says "watch your language."

I'll still say 'fuck' whenever I damn well please, but "Fuck" won't be my justification for doing so. If anything, it'll be despite "Fuck" that I continue saying "fuck".

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/23/06 14:27:26
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival For more in the 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2006 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Independent Film Festival of Boston For more in the 2006 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.

User Comments

4/03/12 Fuck Don't wear it out boys. 4 stars
5/06/09 encorespanish Not much of a documentary, but funny nevertheless 4 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Film. 5 stars
9/18/08 jbnpro This is the real thing! 5 stars
11/01/07 Total Crap How can you go wrong with a movie title like that? 4 stars
3/11/07 Ryan_A Surprisingly thoughtful and funny. 4 stars
2/03/07 Lawrence Skarin The word is not to be avoided but shouldn't be overused. Janeann Garofalo said it best. 4 stars
12/10/06 David Pollastrini I like the title 4 stars
11/20/06 aaron spitz hilarious. There is one particular scene that is truly mind blowingly funny!! 5 stars
11/20/06 michael worth checking out 4 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Milks an awful lot out of a single word, to moderate effect. 4 stars
6/26/06 David S. if I was 12 I might have liked it 2 stars
5/30/06 mukhtiyar lubnag 5 stars
4/28/06 David Kleane Not my thing at all. Is this what docs have become? Sad. 1 stars
4/01/06 poo poo 1 stars
2/16/06 Rob Rodrigue Awesome and obscene 5 stars
2/10/06 Roger Andrews The best, funniest doc in years 5 stars
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  DVD: 13-Feb-2007



Directed by
  Steve Anderson

Written by

  Steven Bochco
  Pat Boone
  Drew Carey
  Billy Connolly
  Chuck D.
  Janeane Garofalo

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