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Movie Review: The Great Buck Howard

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Prinz Lee wrote this review 6 years and 4 months ago

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PL's Archive: Written March 22, 2009

Entertaining at best is what I’d say if I had to narrow this film down. I think I enjoyed the trailer a lot more than I actually enjoyed the film. It was okay and perhaps having enjoyed the trailer, I opened up to this piece expecting one thing and got something else. It did have its moments, but for the most part, it didn’t really lean towards anything too comedic or dramatic. John Malkovich does a great job between layers of maintaining his character’s needs pertaining to the script’s demand as did Colin Hanks. Granted, not his dad and it’s so obvious, so far no matter what film I’ve seen with him, he never has that over-kill performance as I’ve seen with other off-spring like Katie Holmes for example who just turns my stomach. The film’s full of quirkiness and delivers a few good moments with celebrity cameos and occasional strings of consciousness which intertwines when unexpected moments in our lives introduces what we at times tend to be grateful for and feel thankful that a “just cause” decision we made turned out better than expected.

Once upon a time, “Buck Howard” (John Malkovich) spent his days in the limelight. His mind-boggling feats as a mentalist extraordinaire - not to be confused with a magician - earned him a marquee act in Vegas and 61 appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. In his own humble opinion, his talents go far beyond simple sleight of hand - he can read minds and hypnotize not just a single soul but an entire room of people! But nowadays, it's clear to everyone but Buck that his act has lost its luster; he performs in faded community centers and hasn't sold out a theater in years. Yet, with a hearty handshake and a trademark "I love this town!" Buck Howard perseveres, confident in his own celebrity, convinced his comeback is imminent. He just needs a new road manager and personal assistant. As it turns out, recent law school drop-out and unemployed, would-be writer “Troy Gable” (Colin Hanks) needs a job and a purpose. Working for the pompous, has-been mentalist fills the former requirement, but how it satisfies the latter is questionable, especially to his father (Tom Hanks), who still assumes Troy is in law school. Nonetheless, with the aid of a fiery publicist and a bold stroke of fate, Buck surprisingly lands back into the American consciousness, taking Troy along for the ride of his life. As the coveted spotlight again shines on the great Buck Howard, Buck becomes the unlikeliest of teachers as Troy learns a few tricks he couldn't possibly have picked up in law school.



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