Chuck And Buck

Chuck And Buck


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

To be so disturbed by a film must mean it's done its job right, if emotional pain and agonised embarrassment is anything to go by. Some people might prefer to be ill.

Mike White's role in this is crucial. He wrote the script and plays Buck, a child man who obsesses about his boyhood friend.

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When Buck's mother dies, he invites Chuck (Chris Weitz), whom he hasn't seen since they were 11, to the funeral. It is a big moment for him.

Chuck has a proper job in LA, as a record producer, and a fiancee, Carlyn (Beth Colt), who dresses the way she talks - sensibly. Buck, on the other hand, sucks lollipops and collects furry toys. His understanding of the world outside his mother's house is minimal and he bursts into tears at the hint of rejection.

After the so-called reunion at the funeral, Buck sells everything, travels to California and settles into a motel not far from Chuck's office. He starts stalking him, phoning and leaving messages, sneaking up to his house and watching him make love to Carlyn. Even worse, he invites himself over.

Chuck is incapable of telling Buck to stay out of his life. Carlyn is more sympathetic, while remaining formal and bossy. Buck doesn't just want his best friend back. He wants to play those sex games they experimented with as kids. His crush on Chuck is so powerful, he makes a pass at an actor who looks like him. His needs are so naked, they slice though inhibition. It is awful to watch.

White is pale, almost albino, with weak lips and doleful eyes. If he was an insect, he would slime like a slug. Weitz is a Christopher Reeve lookalike, tall and chiselled. His brother, Paul, plays the actor. Together they wrote the scripts for Antz and Nutty Professor 2 and directed American Pie. In their first roles in front of the camera, they conduct themselves professionally.

The film is a kind of torture. You feel sorry for Buck, but not enough. You'd rather he went away and didn't come back.

LA has never looked more depressing, or less seductive. As for Forrest Gump, forget him. Everyone knows he was make-believe. At least, Buck is real. For almost the entire movie, you wish he wasn't.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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An emotionally retarded man has sexual obsession for his childhood friend.
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Director: Miguel Arteta

Writer: Mike White

Starring: Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt, Paul Weitz, Maya Rudolph, Mary Wigmore, Paul Sand, Gino Buccola, Annette Murphy, Glory Simon

Year: 1999

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2000

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