Wednesday, September 14, 2011

getting bucked

The base "Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star" never stood a chance, not even with Adam Sandler's imprematur stamped on it.

Sandler may be able to get a movie made, via his Happy Madison company, natch, but he can't get a studio to respect it.

In a year of dubious comedies that pushed buttons and envelopes - namely, "Bridesmaids," "Hall Pass," "Bad Teacher," "Horrible Bosses," "The Hangover 2" and, worst of all, "A Good, Old-Fashioned Orgy" - "Bucky Larson" was the only one to be treated as if it had cooties.

Jeez, even the soiled, god-awful "A Good, Old-Fashioned Orgy" was screened for critics. But "Bucky" was hidden from the press, with all its pans running in Saturday papers. If Columbia felt so embarrassed by the film, why greenlight it in the first place? Oh, yeah, right - Adam Sandler.

This is not to indicate that "Bucky Larson" is a good or even not-bad film. But it says something about an industry that finds something harmlessly hilarious about women vomiting and defecating uncontrollably (as they did in the big setpiece in "Bridesmaids") but gets all judgmental about a film about a bucktoothed nerd with a tiny penis who has pretensions of becoming a huge porn star (that would be "Bucky Larson").

And he does become a porn star because of that small member. See, it doesn't intimiate the guys who download his films and it makes the women more admiring of their boyfriends/husbands, regardless of size.

Tom Brady, who directed, is no auteur (far from it, his two previous accomplishments were "The Hot Chicks" and "The Comebacks"), but he is smart enough to stand back and let his rather estimable cast members(Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Edward Hermann, Miriam Flynn, Kevin Nealon and Stephen Dorff, among them) take a bat at the low material without exactly embarrassing themselves except when they want to.

Nick Swardson, who limns the role of Bucky, is a reliable Sandler house player ("Just Go With It" and "Don't Mess with the Zohan") and funny character man ("The House Bunny" and "Grandma's Boy") who has been sitting on the sidelines too long and deserves a breakthrough.

"Bucky Larson" is not exactly the film that will put him on the map and, hopefully, it won't completely derail his career. As he has in other films, Swardson makes the most of theoretically unplayable material, working beyond the call of duty as his film's star who is also its best team player.

Adam Sandler obviously likes and has nurtured him, but at this point, Nick Swardson needs a Judd Apatow in his life. Like right now.


Ken said...

I can't believe that you're recommending this movie!

joe baltake said...

I'm not recommending it at all. What I'm doing here is pointing out the hypocritical and contradictory nature of the movie business. Besides, this site is devoted to neglected films, even bad ones.

jbryant said...

Apatow co-wrote and produced YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN (in which Swardson had a funny supporting role), and of course wrote and directed Sandler in FUNNY PEOPLE, which opened with footage Apatow shot of Sandler back when they were roommates and struggling stand-ups. So theoretically, Swardson and Apatow are moving in the same circles, and a collaboration is conceivable (unless the utter failure of BUCKY has put the kibosh on Swardson's leading man career).

The thing that killed any interest I may have had in BUCKY LARSON was the TV spots, quite possibly the worst I've ever seen for a movie. The featured the apparently cretinous Peter Dante (a Happy Madison mainstay) grinning and yelling over clips of the film. Maybe the guy has a fan base I'm unaware of, but I can't imagine anyone seeing those spots and thinking anything other than "WTF?"

Swardson was pretty decent in his supporting role in 30 SECONDS OR LESS.

Unknown said...

Bucky Larson is a surreal comedy, the people who will really love it either haven't been born yet, aren't tall enough to be seen at the ticket booth, or can't drive themselves to the theater. In time this fantastic motion picture will prove to be a cult classic. Not since Pooteytang have I laughed so hard at a film. Only a true moron is ashamed to laugh at stupidity.

Caz1310 said...

Aargh. Lightbulb moment. I now realise that actors have their own production companies so that they can star in their own vehicles. Otherwise how would Adam Sandler keep working?

Caz1310 said...

A-ha. Lightbulb moment. Now I realise why actors have their own production companies. Otherwise how would Adam Sandler be able to keep working?