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Chuck and Buck

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Chuck and Buck

Starring: Mike White, Chris Weitz
Director: Miguel Arteta
Rated: R
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: July 2000
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Gay/Lesbian


*Also starring: Paul Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt, Paul Sand



Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

When Chuck and Buck were 11 years old, they were best friends. Chuck long ago moved away. He's now 27 with an important job and a lovely fiancée. Buck, on the other hands, still has the social graces and mental capacity of an immature 11-year-old. Most of all, what hasn't changed is that Buck still has a major crush on Chuck.

In Miguel Arteta's CHUCK & BUCK, one of the hits of this year's Sundance Film Festival, Buck is played with creepy innocence by the movie's writer, Mike White. In a more straightforward role, Chris Weitz plays Chuck, a hard-working music promoter.

Although the film does have its moments, when it gets decidedly under your skin, most the movie is so devoid of energy that it rarely involves the audience. Shot on videotape, the ugly cinematography has the look of a third generation tape copy. The colors smear across the frame like a home video, which only calls attention to the amateurishness of much of the acting.

After inviting Chuck to their old hometown to his mother's funeral, Buck follows him back to LA. After taking up residence in LA, Buck, sucking on his signature red lollypop, starts stalking and voyeuring Chuck. At first, at least, Chuck's fiancée (Beth Colt) is concerned about this child in a man's body who is obsessed with her future husband. Later she becomes just as leery of him as her fiancé.

To make Chuck fully understand the feelings he holds for him, Buck writes an autobiographical play ("Hank & Frank") that rivals "Springtime for Hitler" from THE PRODUCERS for obnoxious banality, except that the latter was meant to be campy fun. "Hank & Frank," however, serves only to remind us of how much worse the movie CHUCK & BUCK could have been.

The film's treacly music has a childlike happiness. Sometimes it seems that the movie wants to transform itself into a parody, such as BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER, but it never does.

As the film slowly moves along, it does manage sporadically to shock and touch us. But Weitz's overly obvious acting telegraphs its big surprise so badly that it takes the punch out of what should have been the movie's best scene.

What we take away isn't the fear that some forgotten lover will come back to harass us. Instead, what we are most likely to remember is that we don't enjoy going to the theater to watch images that look much worse than our own home videos.

CHUCK & BUCK runs a long 1:36. It is rated R for sexuality and language and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes

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