Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Great Buck Howard (2008)

Director: Sean McGinly

Writer: Sean McGinly

Composer: Blake Neely

Starring: John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt, Ricky Jay, Steve Zahn, Tom Hanks, Griffin Dunne, Debra Monk, Adam Scott, Patrick Fischler, Wallace Langham, Jonathan Ames, Gary Coleman, Michael Winslow, Martha Stewart, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, David Blaine, Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa, George Takei, Mary Hart, Jay Leno, Tom Arnold, Don Most, Dave Attell, Paul Simon

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Get ready for the comeback of a lifetime.

Plot: A young man, much to the chagrin of his father, becomes the new assistant to an illusionist in decline.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I'm a sucker for anything real-world magical as in magicians performing tricks.  After the film I learned that a lot of the situations Buck (Malkovich) finds himself in are based on events that happened to The Amazing Kreskin.  The cast does a fine job and the story (and score) is fun.  But the ending falls short of everything that built up to it.  I liked the message the film was telling but there was something missing in the final act that keeps this from being fulfilling.  MINOR SPOILERS....YARRRRRR!!!  Around the halfway (or more) mark a scathing magazine article is published that paints Buck in a really poor light and it's played up like it's going to be the end of his career.  Naturally Buck sees the article and it weighs heavily in his mind except that after he discovers it, it's never mentioned again even after his career takes off like it never had before.  WTF?  Why introduce something of a bombshell if you're not going to drop it?  Buck passes out from seeing it, which makes news, and then he's on the national talk show circuit and no one brings up the scathing article?  Whatever.  That said, the ending was only partially satisfying.  I liked it but getting there's that one big sticking point that just vanishes like one of Buck's tricks.  I was really hoping for a solid conclusion to an otherwise solid film and that hurts a little bit.  It's still a good recommend. The Magnolia DVD has a nice anamorphic widescreen print with a few extras including a commentary track with McGinly and Hanks, deleted scenes (3 minutes), extended scenes (10 minutes), outtakes (3 minutes), a making of featurette (10 minutes), a 4 minute fluff piece from HDNet and 6 minutes with the Amazing Kreskin with anecdotes of the film and his experiences with Johnny Carson (GREAT fun).

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