Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 49: Bucky Larson, Born to Be a Star

"You can't go around whippin' your dick out at mac & cheese commercial auditions."

You're welcome. I just spoiled the only funny thing that anyone in this entire fucking catastrophe uttered. I am so god damned angry right now, I'm glad my family is asleep and doesn't have to see me like this. I have never been so angry after watching a movie. Well, maybe I have, but the anger rising in me throughout this entire 95 minute abomination feels unrivaled at the moment. At least Old Dogs had the fucking decency to start the end credits around the 79 minute mark. This fucking atrocity was still going strong. It hadn't even gotten to the climax. Jesus Christ, there was still 11 more minutes of this shit to go at that point.

I used to like Adam Sandler. I never loved him like a lot of people did, but I always enjoyed his movies. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Wedding Singer, these movies made me laugh. I own them. His performances for writer/directors who knew how to harness his energy were effective: Punch Drunk Love, Funny People, even Spanglish. But the dude just seemed to want a career to give his friends jobs. His hangers-on have all gotten their moment in the spotlight thanks to his Happy Madison production company: Rob Schneider, Allen Covert, David Spade, Kevin James, and now, Nick Swardson. Swardson is a talented stand-up yet nobody's figured out what to do with him in a feature film. This is his first starring vehicle and to call it an unmitigated failure is an understatement.

Swardson plays Bucky Larson, a bumpkin from Iowa who discovers that his parents were porn stars in the 70s. He decides it's his destiny to go to Hollywood and follow in their footsteps. He does. That's it. That's the whole fucking plot. Yeah, there's other stuff, but that's pretty much it. It would be one thing if there was something new to add to that notion, but that ground was pretty well covered by Trey Parker & Matt Stone's vastly superior Orgazmo; Naive kid ends up in porn, becomes a superstar, rebels against the industry and evil dudes who run it. Why does this movie exist? Because Adam Sandler's rich and if you do enough small roles in his shitty starring vehicles, you get $10 million to make your own vanity project.

This movie is a fucking piece of shit. I have no qualms with saying that. I remember when it came out and everyone took a shit on it and Nick Swardson tried in vain to defend it, saying that it was never intended to be a movie for critics, but this isn't a movie for anyone. In the interest of fairness, I'm going to list the things that this film considers funny and you can decide for yourself if the problem is with the critics or the lazy screenwriting. What follows is just a list, presented objectively and you tell me if any of these things are funny in and of themselves:

Dutch page boy wigs
Endless jokes about dutch page boy wigs
Buck teeth
Endless jokes about buck teeth
Midwestern accents
Endless jokes about Midwestern accents
Small penises
Endless jokes about small penises
Every single ancillary character is a total creep
Stephen Dorff as a porn star
Don Johnson as a porn director
The guy from Zohan (Ido Mosseri) playing the same character he played in Zohan
Fake porn titles that aren't funny i.e. The Farmer in the Smell
Old people saying dirty things
Young people saying dirty things
Kevin Nealon
Pauly Shore
Using a cut off end of a straw as a condom

That's all I wrote down, but I'm sure there are others. Maybe there's something funny about some of those, but when the film appears to just be a string of essentially the same four jokes, they lose their punch. First of all, there's nothing about the character of Bucky Larson that would lead anyone with a brain to believe that he is a heterosexual. I don't know why people seem to take that for granted in encounters with him, but apparently he's not even questioning, and that's odd to me.

This brings me to my biggest problem with the movie (I know, as if all that was just the warm-up to my real problem). My biggest problem with the movie is Christina Ricci. Not necessarily her character, although it's a fucking joke of a character arc they give her (her dream is to be a waitress in a fancy restaurant, but she accidentally scalded an old woman with hot soup and now she's afraid to work in a restaurant with trays. This is all true). My problem is that she's in this movie at all. She used to be awesome. She was the fucking indie movie queen for much of the late 90s and early aughts, and then she lost weight and started doing shit (Black Snake Moan? Anyone? That movie was made during Samuel L. Jackson's "I'll do anything with Snake in the title" period {thank you Andy Grigg}). We all gotta eat, I get that, and I'm not looking to cast aspersions on people, but between this and Pan Am, I'm starting to seriously question her desire to be taken seriously anymore.

She has a scene with Bucky late in the movie, after he's won 12 adult film awards (not making that up) where she tells him that she's never won any fancy awards, and part of me can't help but feel that her mere presence in this whole endeavor is a fuck you to anyone who's ever liked her as an actress. I need to watch Buffalo '66 again soon to remind myself that she was once a great actress. Why on earth she would consider being in a relationship with someone as emotionally retarded as Bucky is beyond me. And I don't use that word in the mean sense, I use it in the sense of the definition of the word. He is fucking retarded. He's not just naive, or sensitive, or overly trusting, he's retarded.

You could not convince me that there was more than one draft of this fucking abortion written down on paper. There are three credited writers (Sandler, Swardson, & Covert) but I would bet both my kidneys that this thing was written on the fly. It seems like a funnier idea than it actually is, and it's not that funny of an idea. I would love to talk to someone who worked on this thing that would be honest with me and tell me that they got sides every morning and that there was no official written script. It's the only plausible explanation for this shit. Everyone in this movie is naive. Nobody in the world is as naive as the characters in this movie, and I'm not just talking about Bucky. Everyone takes everything at face value.

There's no attempt at characterization, and why do that when it's funny just to stick a bunch of caricatures in the frame and let them mug it up. Throw a wig on that guy who was famous fifteen years ago and let him say whatever pops into his head. That seems to have been the mantra of this project. It's directed by a guy named Tom Brady, and if ever there were a more ironic name for a guy directing a movie like this, I don't know what it would be. The real director went down, the back-up got thrown in, and made the worst movie of the decade. It's a cinderella story if I've ever heard one. I don't know that that's what happened, but it sounds like a fitting analogy for such an aptly named director.

I could write a dissertation on this travesty, but my better sense is telling me to wrap it up. Do not... I repeat DO NOT go near this thing with a forty foot pole. It is absolutely, positively one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It made Zookeeper look like the fucking laugh riot of the year. This movie should be held against everyone involved for the rest of their lives. They should wear it around their necks like the albatross it is and have to suffer countless indignities for agreeing to appear in it.

There's pretty much nothing to convince me that Adam Sandler will ever be good again, particularly because he not only produced it, but took the top writing credit. He deserves it. Fuck him. I hope he's happy and has his money and his New York fucking Yankees to keep him happy at night. He's certainly done bringing joy to the lives of anyone in the world outside of his friends, and he seems perfectly content to do so. And as for Nick Swardson, I hope someone figures out something to do with him, because he can be a funny dude. I just don't hold out much hope that it'll happen if even he can't write a good starring vehicle for himself. God help us all.

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