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and Buck 2000
Directed by: Miguel
Written by: Mike White
Starring: Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt
Look for it at the video store under: drama
it when you’re in the mood for something:
darkly comic, disturbing
/ 5 the rating
Chuck and Buck were childhood
best friends. Then Chuck moved away, grew up, and became a big-shot
music producer in L.A. Buck stayed home, lived with his odd parents, and
never really evolved beyond the emotional state of the already-
backwards eleven-year-old that he was when Chuck left. Years later, when
Buck’s mom dies, leaving Buck all alone, Chuck – now Charlie –
returns to town to pay his respects. He’s brought Carlyn, his
fiancée, along with him, and looks every inch the successful schmoozer
that he’s become. He’s one of those glib people that automatically
says to someone, "Hey, look me up if you’re ever in town,"
even when it’s entirely clear to any socially normal person that he
has no intention of really continuing a relationship. But Buck’s not
normal, and ends up following Charlie to L.A. As Charlie does his best
to subtly break off ties, Buck begins stalking Charlie in earnest. In
one final effort to capture Charlie’s attention, Buck hires the
manager of a children’s theatre to direct a play he’s written about
their friendship – or his twisted take on it, at any rate.
you’re not a fan of the Todd Solondz school of seriously disturbing
character-driven films, save yourself the four bucks and skip Chuck
and Buck. But for those of you who can stomach the creepy, who, when
you say something’s "weird," don’t accompany the
proclamation with a wrinkled nose of distaste, Chuck and Buck
offers a fascinating, unique look at a very complex character, and how
two people can be in the same place, doing the same things, at the same
time, and still walk away taking entirely different experiences with
them. Chuck and Buck is really Buck’s story. We never end up
sympathizing with "poor" stalked Charlie, who with his
Tom-Cruise-chiseled good looks gives you the distinct feeling that he
actually likes being all glossy surface and no inner substance. Buck, on
the other hand, with goggly eyes and mouth always slightly agape, doesn’t
have that protective outer coating that most adults develop to keep the
occasional ugliness of the their emotions hidden away from the world.
There’s something decidedly child-like about Buck – as underscored
by the jarringly sweet, indie-pop score – but in a way that threatens
our adult expectations of how grown-ups are supposed to act. It’s a
credit to Mike White – as both writer and star – that we viewers are
never quite sure how we’re supposed to feel about Buck. Buck isn’t
meant to be either likeable or loathesome; he’s not some Hollywood
caricature of the idiot savant that enlightens through his innocence,
nor is he merely some deranged stalker. Which makes for some mighty
interesting viewing, even if it does make you squirm.
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