Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Great Buck Howard

This is another movie I’d barely heard of, but we took a chance on it. I enjoy a good show biz comedy now and then.

However, THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD isn’t really a comedy, although it’s fairly amusing in places. I guess it’s what they used to call a comedy-drama, before TV merged those words into the slightly less cumbersome but more irritating (at least to me) “dramedy”. It’s the story of a young man, played by Colin Hanks (Tom’s son), who quits law school because he hates it and winds up working as the road manager for a washed-up mentalist/magician named Buck Howard (John Malkovich). Buck, who is openly based on the Amazing Kreskin, as a note at the end of the movie reveals, is eccentric and hard to work for, to say the least. In that respect, this movie reminded me somewhat of a good one from the Eighties, MY FAVORITE YEAR. At one point in his career, Buck was a favorite guest on The Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson, as Buck always adds when he mentions it), but he’s fallen on hard times and been reduced to playing shows in small towns across America. His dream is to get back to The Tonight Show and also to perform in Las Vegas.

There are a lot of celebrity cameos in this one, from Jay Leno to Jack Carter and Bill Saluga (those of you who know who Bill Saluga is, raise your hand; I can still quote his most famous bit). Tom Hanks shows up playing, surprise, the kid’s dad. The script is good, the actors do a fine job, and while the movie definitely has a low-key feeling to it, I enjoyed it and found it well worth watching


Vince said...

I enjoyed this movie, especially Malkovich, but I couldn't help thinking it would have been better if the main character had been Emily Blunt and not Colin Hanks.

Bill Crider said...

My daughter keeps recommending that I rent this one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I must admit that John Malkovich tries my patience, but I think he's supposed to in this.

Rittster said...

When first saw the title (I'd never heard of the movie), and before I read the review or looked at the photo, I was thinking it was an old Western, maybe starring Buck Jones.

Speaking of old Westerns, I think I owe you something (not as a burden, but as something I want to do). So take of a few days or a week and think of a few old movies (I guess it could be new movies, but I can't think of any that would be hard to locate) you've wanted to see for awhile but could never find, drop me an email witha few titles, listing them in order of priority, and I'll see if I can pull find one.

Richard Robinson said...

Ah, MY FAVORITE YEAR. A big favorite of mine! As for the film you review here, never even heard of it, until now.

Paul D. Brazill said...

I fancy this. I like Malkovich, camp old panto dame that he is.

My Favourite Year is brilliant. 'This Is For Women...'