"Coming to Terms with One’s Place in the World"
What You Need To Know:
THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD is a very charming, entertaining comedy. The cast is excellent. One of the flaws is that the movie implies Troy does go to bed with the female PR agent hired for Buck’s special stunt. The movie also implies Buck might indeed have some special mentalist powers. Other than that, and some foul language, this feel-good movie is fairly clean, though it deserves its PG rating.
(Pa, BB, C, Ro, Ho, LL, V, S, AA, M) Light mixed, but insightful and heartwarming, pagan worldview about a has-been mentalist and his new assistant, with strong moral and some redemptive content, including a couple positive scenes of forgiveness and some expressions of caring between people who don’t always get along, some Romantic elements, plus celebrity’s assistant keeps denying possibly unfounded rumors that his boss being homosexual, with assistant replying he’s never seen his boss romantically involved with anyone, but movie leaves the question in doubt; seven obscenities and five light profanities; light violence such as man gets really angry and hypnotized people fall asleep to floor and man collapses from exhaustion; light implied sexual content includes man (after kissing woman) wakes up in bed the next morning and woman is gone from pillow which has an impression that she probably slept there, clothed hypnotized people believe they are naked and one woman is clearly an exhibitionist because she dances on the stage and waves her arms about, plus light homosexual references when people wonder verbally if a man is homosexual; alcohol use and light drunkenness; no smoking; and, woman intrudes on man’s show procedures out of her own selfish desires, and movie implies some of man’s mentalist powers may be real in some way.
THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD is a small gem that works on several different levels. It’s a funny comedy, a heartfelt drama, a touching character study, and a gentle satire of fame and fortune. There is some content that merits caution, however.
The movie stars Colin Hanks, the son of Tom Hanks, as Troy Gable, a law student who, over his father’s objections, decides to leave law school and go to Hollywood to earn a living as a writer. Troy is a practical young man, however, so he answers an ad from a celebrity for a personal assistant.
The celebrity turns out to be has-been mentalist Buck Howard (played by John Malkovich), who appeared 61 times on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON but is now relegated to playing rundown auditoriums in smaller towns like San Bernardino, Calif. and Akron, Ohio. Though Buck can be irascible, Troy grows fond of him. Buck’s act still amazes Troy, especially the ending where Buck tries to guess where an audience member has hidden the money he is being paid. If Buck finds the money, he gets paid. If Buck doesn’t find the money, he walks away with nothing. For 30 years or more, Buck has always found the money.
This situation converges in Cincinnati, where Buck promises that he will hypnotize a few hundred people all at the same time in a publicity stunt. The wacky, unexpected results of the stunt will endear most viewers to this movie, and give them something to think about as well.
THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD is a very charming, entertaining comedy. The cast is excellent. For the most part, they play likeable characters, but characters with realistic flaws. One of the flaws, regrettably, is that the movie implies Troy does go to bed with the female PR agent hired for Buck’s publicity stunt. The movie also implies that Buck might indeed have some special mentalist powers. Other than that, and some foul language, this feel-good movie is fairly clean, though it deserves its PG rating. The movie’s most uplifting aspect is the heartwarming bond of good will that develops between Troy and his quirky boss. Eventually, both Troy and Buck come to terms with their place in the world.
THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD is very funny and very insightful. Take caution, however.