4th Man Out is a heartfelt coming-out comedy with genuine true-to-life awkwardness felt between lifelong friends, family and community as they support the sexual orientation of one of their own. Set in picturesque upstate New York, the film centres on a straight acting boy-next-door who makes the decision, to announce that he is gay during his 24th Birthday celebrations. The ensemble cast deliver near perfect comic timing and at times, Aaron Dancik’s script leaps straight out of RuPauls Drag Race with more brilliant lines than I could make a note of ‘I can’t tell if he’s surprised or mad with that unibrow.’
Auto repair mechanic Adam (Evan Todd) is turning 24 and is preparing to tell his close knit-group of friends that he is gay. The quartet made up of best friend Chris (Parker Young), Ortu (Jon Gabrus) and Nick (Chord Overstreet) prepare for an evening of girls and drinks. Amongst the ‘Welcome Homo’s’ banter, and ‘Want to get Gay’ drinking games; Adam misses opportunities to make his announcement. When the group descends on a local bar Chris becomes fixated on match making and meets Train – Tracy – Tranny – he eventually learns that her name is Rachel (Jennifer Damiano). Ortu and Nick are more interested in sneaking selfies with girl’s breasts. The next morning when all are half asleep with major hangovers, Adam makes the announcement to Chris as they share a rollaway bed.
With planned poker nights and hockey matches following the big gay announcement, it takes some adjustment as the group comes to terms with their own masculinity ‘He can’t be gay he eats steak every day’, as the group stumbles into every imaginable unintended double entendre ‘I would have sucked you dry’. Chris is in an open relationship with libidinous Jessica (Jordan Lane Price) who plant’s a seed that Adam wants Chris, that they should have a threesome together. As Chris begins to question his bromance with Adam he discusses his feelings on a follow up date with Rachel who flags his narcissism, and reminds him what a big step it was for Adam to come out to him.
The group devise a plan to help Adam find a man of his own – all except Adam have a surprisingly great deal of knowledge about gay dating apps, despite not knowing what a ‘power bottom’ is. With the groups encouragement Adam goes out on a number of blind dates; receives an Austrian themed invitation to a basement, witnesses chemical inspired paranoid delusions, listens to discussions about penises being the size of large bread rolls, and watches Scarface re-enactments at the local Spaghetti House.
With the 4th July festivities approaching, Adam takes the next step with the support of his best friend Chris, to come out to his family, though in a more spectacular fashion than he had meticulously planned. The moment is almost upstaged by the unexpected arrival of a fanatical churchgoing neighbour Martha (Brooke Dillman), who brings with her Father O’Malley to read Adam his final rites. Marta has failed to match-make Adam with her niece, and is furious at the discovery that there are homosexuals in her midst. United in the decision, Chris, Nick and Ortu surprise Adam and take him out to the local gay bar (I’d like to point out has better music than my local in London). On the dance floor, Chris is reunited with Rachel and Adam is introduced to a grounded happy gay couple reassuring him that he is on the right path, even if he allegedly is, wearing ‘look at my crouch jeans’.
Despite a 17 day shoot schedule, 4th Man Out is a well thought out production from the script, rural setting in Albany NY, and actors wearing their characters skin. I was sitting next to a film journalist in the screening at BFI Flare and we both said at the films conclusion that we wanted friends like these four. 4th Man Out is an ideal date movie that will appeal to LGBT and non LGBT audiences; prepare for belly ache, Ortu “Taylor Swift is a singing angel.”