Might be just an excuse to swear…a lot


on November 10, 2006 by Tim Cogshell
Etymology — the study of the origin of words and their evolving meanings — is at the crux of Fuck, a documentary about that word and its etymology. Kinda. Mostly it seems like a real neat way to get that word onto movie posters and into lots of movie reviews all over America, thus vexing arbiters of taste and propriety with at least some measure of academic credibility. In any case, the search for the origin(s) of the word are, ostensibly, the central reason for the production of the film, and thus director Steve Anderson ( The Big Empty ) does employ a number of linguistic experts to offer that aforementioned measure of creditability to his…investigation. According to these experts, the word is not an acronym for “Fornication Under the Consent of the King.” Indeed, the experts generally agree that the origin of the word is as unknown as the origins of language itself, which are also unknown and very likely unknowable. Thus the more intriguing issues explored in the film are not so much were the word comes from or even what it actually means, but, rather, why and how humanity uses it (it appears phonetically the same in many languages) and why it is so offensive, yet so ubiquitous. For this discussion Anderson employs another group of experts of a sort, including several notables ranging from social critics to comics, to rap artists and rock stars, to filmmakers, historians, politicians and theologians, etc., each intended to represent some sphere of society from which we, the average cursing American, might hail. This discussion is speculative and rife with personal opinion no more based in fact than the discussion of the word's origins. For the most part the commentaries are couched in the personal perspectives of the interviewees: For right-leaning talk radio host Dennis Prager, what seems to be the increased use of the word suggests the downfall of human civilization; for left-leaning talk radio host Janeane Garofalo it does not. And so on. All of the subjects do admit to using the word, at least on some occasions. As for the word itself, one is told that the explicative for which this documentary is titled is used some eight hundred times in the film. That feels about right. Feels good, too. Distributor: ThinkFilm
Cast: Steven Bochco, Pat Boone, Chuck D, Ice-T, Alanis Morissette, Drew Carey, Bill Maher, Dennis Prager, Billy Connolly, Sam Donaldson, Alan Keyes, Hunter S. Thompson, Michael Medved, Janeane Garofalo, Ron Jeremy, Ben Bradlee, David Milch, Kevin Smith, Tera Patrick and Evan Seinfeld
Director/Producer: Steve Anderson
Genre: Documentary
Rating: R for language
Running time: 93 min.
Release date: November 10, 2006 NY/LA
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