Have you ever wondered what happens to people who used to be stars and are not anymore? How do they adjust? Do they? Stardom is a curious state of being that not many people have to adjust to. I presume that it is akin to a drug with its euphoric state. Continuing on with that line of thinking then if the drug/stardom disappears then the difficult state of withdrawal happens.
Mentalist Buck Howard (John Malkovich – Dangerous Liaisons, Burn After Reading) appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson over 60 times. He was a star. Johnny Carson retired, time marched on and Buck Howard did not change with the times. This lead to the entertainment industry leaving him behind. Refusing to change or adjust Buck Howard continues on like nothing has changed. In his mind he is still a star.
This attitude leads to him firing his assistant/road manager Alan (Adam Scott – from television’s Parks and Recreation) and looking to hire someone to take his place. His searching for a new assistant/road manager coincides with Troy Gable’s (Colin Hanks – King Kong, The House Bunny) realization that he does not want to be a lawyer and him dropping out of school. He figures out that he wants to be a writer, but in the meantime he needs to find a job to pay the bills. Troy applies for and gets the position.
Life on the road with the eccentric diva that is Buck Howard keeps Troy on his toes. Though the job pays his bills it is not really fulfilling him career wise. His doubts about the job are ramped up when his father (Tom Hanks – Philadelphia, You Got Mail) shows up at one of the shows and voices his disappointment with his son’s choices. Troy is about to tell Buck he is done when Buck asks him to stick it out as he has a huge new trick that will cement his comeback.
With the possibility of a big trick on the horizon Buck calls upon his public relations firm to help get him some press and exposure in the lead up. The young Valerie Brennan (Emily Blunt – The Adjustment Bureau, The Five-Year Engagement) is sent from New York to work on just that. The big trick is going to take place in Cincinnati, Ohio and much is riding on it.
Much of the film rides on the performance of John Malkovich in the role of Buck Howard. And he is up to the challenge of playing this odd character who is full of quirks. He makes the very cheesy mentalist very likable despite all his annoying characteristics.
A charming film by director Sean McGinly (Two Days) that is the perfect fit for a viewer who enjoys quirky films that don’t involve any action. Simple story that is enjoyable. You will find yourself getting involved in the story and caring about the characters. The film is not a “big” one and I’m sure was overlooked by many. This is the beauty of your home theatre system in that you can watch in high definition those films that you missed in the theatre and are a worthy watch.
-Behind the Scenes
-HDNet: A Look at the Great Buck Howard
-The Amazing Kreskin