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This is a documentary that takes the edge off one of the most taboo of words, and how wild it is to see some of these people say it.


Documentary filmmaker Steve Anderson explains everything anyone could possibly want to know about the word that gave four-letter words a bad name. The educational, sometimes clinical, look at the much-maligned word shows also the history of the media, free speech and what some consider the decline of Western civilization. But yeah, even those of us using it a lot will learn something. Did you know it can be used in practically every form of speech—as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective and more? Did you know that it is NOT an abbreviation for Fornicating Under Consent of the King or For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge or anything else as popularly misconceived? The word is discussed by directors such as Kevin Smith, who is know for having hundreds in his movies, culture critics such as Miss Manners' Judith Martin, reporters such as Ben Bradlee, and porn stars, of course, such as Ron Jeremy.


The guy who steals the show here is British comic Billy Connolly, who when he's not in kids movies, is pretty blue. With his wildly long hair flopping, he goes on a banter about how the word is a ''universally perfect word that everyone understands'' and his rant surpasses even funny folk like Bill Maher, Sandra Tsing Loh, Janeane Garofalo and others in the film. Conservative commentators like Pat Boone and Alan Keyes are interspersed with rebuttals from hip-hoppers like Ice-T and Chuck D. At one point, Boone suggests that his name be used instead of the F-word, and it cuts to Ice-T saying ''Boone that!,'' trying it out as a substitute. It's nice to see unexpected people in this, as with Hunter S. Thompson's last interview and singer Alanis Morissette, discussing the word used in her first hit ''You Oughta Know.'' Even Sam Donaldson declares it ''a grand word.'' It gets raunchy, too, especially when porn starlet Tera Patrick and her biohazard musician hubby Evan Seinfeld talk about their preferred f**king positions.


The talking heads are shot with a black backdrop, and so they all appear on equal footing, almost as if they are all on a panel together talking to each other. In between, news clips of presidents shooting photographers the finger, film clips from movies like Sideways, Scarface and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut are used, and some funny animation by cartoonist Bill Plympton helps illustrate some examples. The documentary shows fascinating facts like the first time its used on TV, the first time its used in a poem, and the first time it was used by a vice president on the floor of Congress. The documentary diverts from the word and does explore FCC censorship, linguistic experts and other more academic ideas that make it seem like it should be mandatory for high school kids to see before they're allowed to say it. Ultimately, it takes the sting out of the word, and you get rather desensitized to it after hearing it said more than 600 times in the film. And Drew Carey appropriately suggests that the sequel to the film should be called ''C**t.''

Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.