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  Chuck & Buck Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size
Year: 2000
Director: Miguel Arteta
Stars: Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt, Paul Weitz, Maya Rudolph, Mary Wigmore, Paul Sand
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Chuck (Chris Weitz) and Buck (Mike White) were best friends as children, but they've grown up and apart. Chuck is now a record executive, engaged to be married, and Buck still lives with his mother - when she dies, Chuck is invited to the funeral. Buck hopes to revive their friendship, and becomes increasingly obsessive in his efforts to get close to Chuck... sexually.

Is it still a comedy if it doesn't make you laugh? This awkward, unsettling tale of unrequited love was written by its star, Mike White, and is in some ways the twisted side of that Tom Hanks movie Big. Buck is a child in a grown man's body who almost everybody treats like an adult, yet only Chuck can see he's never progressed beyond the age of eleven.

Buck turns up at Chuck's office building, at his parties, at his home, and also spies on Chuck and his wife when they're in the bedroom. He even puts on a play at a theatre across from Chuck's offices, supposedly a fairytale, but actually a disturbing version of how he sees their relationship, complete with thinly veiled homosexual undertones and a wicked witch who ruins the two main characters' companionship.

Most films depict childhood through the rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia, but here its shown in a sinister light, with Buck corrupted by his wish to have things back as they were, and his refusal to move on. White is excellent as the manchild, with his vacant smile and insinuating manner; he sucks on lollipops, drinks gallons of Coca Cola, has a room full of toys and makes collages of his parents and Chuck. When Chuck rejects his advances, Buck resorts to trying to seduce the terrible lookalike actor playing the Chuck character in his play, as a substitute.

The film holds your attention because you wonder how it will resolve itself. It makes you uncomfortable because you can't exactly laugh at such a mentally backward character, and you feel sympathy with Chuck's growing unease. On the other hand, neither of them come across as likeable: Buck's too creepy and Chuck is cold and humourless. The way the plot comes to a head may be too much for some viewers, but the apparently happy ending suggests a less substantial drama than you might have been led to expect. Music by Joey Waronker, Tony Maxwell and Smokey Hormell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Miguel Arteta  (1965 - )

Puerto Rican director whose first film, 1997's Star Maps, was shaped by his own bitter experiences as a minority trying to make it in Hollywood. Followed up by the acclaimed black comedies Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl, both written by college friend Mike White. He followed them up with an adaptation of cult novel Youth in Revolt.

 
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