One important rule of comedy for me is not to give your characters funny names, because chances are that the names themselves aren’t really that funny. After seeing “Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star,” which breaks said rule in the first scene and continues to do so throughout its course, I think a few new rules ought to be employed. Rules that prohibit characters to have one-trick jokes involving buck teeth, doofy hairdos, ridiculous accents, bestiality and certain physical inadequacies. I may feel sick to my stomach if I am ever called upon to endure this miserable tragedy again.
I won’t make the obvious joke about how Bucky Larson himself, Nick Swardson, is NOT born to be a star; other critics have already run that joke into the ground. Sure, the only movie I found him to be legitimately funny in was “30 Minutes Or Less” (where he was still upstaged by Danny McBride), but Swardon DESERVES better than this. In fact, every person in the cast warrants a better use of their talent. Christina Ricci, Kevin Nealon, Don Johnson, Pauly Shore. Yes, Pauly [freaking] Shore, the guy who was in such abysmal trainwrecks as “Jury Duty,” “Bio-Dome” and “In The Army Now,” is too good for this bomb.
This cinematic conflagration tells the story of a naïve young Iowa…boy (man?) named Bucky Larson. This is a character that the film somehow wants us to empathize with and concurrently point our fingers and laugh at, I guess. Only problem is that I don’t remember ever identifying with him as a person and I CERTAINLY didn’t do any laughing in this movie. The aptly named Bucky (because his two front teeth match the size of a beaver’s) lives a humble existence with his parents (Edward Hermann and Miriam Flynn), but a kind elderly woman named Mrs. Bozobop (ho ho!) tells him one day that he was put on this earth to do something with his life. Destiny awaits him somewhere down the line.
Later that same night, an epiphany comes to Bucky as he and his equally gawky friends convene to watch some adult videos. As you may have already predicted, Bucky is a pure minded fellow who knows not the slightest thing about sexual acts or human anatomy or innuendo, so the guys give him a crash course on the subject in repulsively graphic detail, yet told as if it is coming from the mouths of some immature fifth graders who have little to no idea what they are talking about. As they watch one video, they realize the two people in it look oddly familiar…like Bucky’s folks…oh God, no.
Yup, it is them alright. So is Bucky understandably shocked and appalled and possibly scarred for life from seeing his parents nude and on film? Actually no. Instead, he is jumping with joy at the thought that he is the offspring of a couple of so-called ‘celebrities.’ He runs back home to ask them about it, and sure enough, they admit to it to their son with the utmost honor. Putting two and two together, he believes that his destiny must be to travel all the way to Hollywood and become a “movie star,” just like his mom and dad were. Speaking of mom and dad, they support his decision to journey onward and they even help him pack up. Don’t you just love it when characters’ personalities do a 180 out of nowhere with no explanation?
On his unbelievable voyage, he becomes good friends with a sweet diner waitress named Kathy (Ricci) who dreams of landing a bigger and better job in the food world. Christina Ricci’s big doe-eyes and caring smile may be the only glimmering hope in an utterly desolate project and the half-star rating I will arrive on may as well belong entirely to her. As for the other eccentric side characters, we have an easily irritable roommate for Bucky (Nealon), the sleazy, washed-out skin flick director Miles Deep (ho ho!) played by Don Johnson, and a hot shot porn actor named Dick Shadow (ho ho!) played by Stephen Dorff. Who gave these people their names? Austin Powers?
And through a series of events that are equal parts stupid and unlikely, Bucky becomes an overnight sensation on the Internet thanks to a website I will not directly name, but it’s a revolting play on the brand ‘YouTube.’ Oh, and if I haven’t warned you yet, I hope you like jokes about big teeth and small male appendages, because the film has no shortage (ahem!) of these. And if that is not all, it may have even more moments where Bucky vapidly responds to questions with the innocence of a child: “I thought you had some sort of macaroni and cheese fetish.” “Oh, I don’t use feta. Only cheddar.” Well played, Bucky…well played, indeed.
I simply could not crack a smile while watching “Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star.” I was too offended by the sheer laziness in writing gags and by the blatant disregard for the audience’s intellect that I wanted to crawl into a hole and wait until it was over with. This is a joyless comedic wasteland that fails to deliver raunchy laughs and doesn’t even offer much cheap nudity if you are a perv who is looking for that kind of thing. Plus, I could have come up with a better title: “Bucky Larson: PORN to Be A Star.” I had one more good idea OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD than this film had in its gag-inducingly long 97-minute length.
Bucky Larson is a born devastation.