Everyone says the word "fuck" and to be blunt, Steve Anderson's cussumentary Fuck has stepped in the ring 20 years too late. The F-bomb has lived as the central target of damn-near every organization's attack on language as moral compass. In other words, the word is still being argued about, even though, in the public court, the word's justification has been proven for quite some time.
The focus of his film is to get to the core of why we use the word and why people have a problem with it. Much like the word's intended maelstrom, Anderson's film moves with the focus of an ADD case hopped up on a grande cappuccino, methamphetamine, and Jolt Cola. Through dozens of celebrities, linguists, and politicians, Anderson intends to learn all the fallacies in the word's mythology and its connotations.
Though the film thoroughly jumps around the spectrum of the word's usage and important situations where the word's importance intensified, the most interesting parts of the film are when we are allowed to see the word in its theoretical and linguistic context. Linguistic experts Reinhold Aman and Geoffrey Nunberg are the most interesting interviewees because they have actually studied the word and aren't just pontificating off the cuff about it.
There are many parts of the film that are entertaining, but the problem comes in that it can't decide what it wants to be. Watching short histories of how comedians like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin used the word (and language itself) to broaden social criticism will intrigue even the most uptight viewer, but each of those men could garner a two hour movie on his own personal history with curse words. It flies by the seat of its pants for most of its 94 minutes, briefly gliding over the word's usage in such venues as justice, sexuality, war, and even the news. As provocative as it is to hear adult film stars Tera Patrick and Ron Jeremy say the word ad nauseum, we are brought no closer to understanding why this word is so important in the American lexicon or why it infuriates so many people.
Lastly, Fuck never really entertains the idea of the word's gentle decline into general usage. Though the film is entertaining and, at rare moments, insightful, it's doesn't want to get into the fact that today's culture uses the word just as much as it uses the word "like." The shock of the word, though nowhere near the point of extinction, has been blunted to butter-knife standards and has given rise to more prominent mixtures of curse words that the film doesn't really consider. Why does the word still piss people off when they hear it in a movie or a TV show when it's being used in most American households? Instead of really tunneling into that question, Anderson seems to digress into yet another attack on the Bush administration.
Aka F*ck, F*k.