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Case Number 23166: Small Claims Court

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Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star

Sony // 2011 // 97 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 21st, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle is a self-made star.

The Charge

There are no small actors.
Just small parts.

The Case

Iowa born Bucky Larson (Nick Swarsdon, Grandma's Boy) is just an innocent, dentally challenged man-boy trying to make his way in the world. After Bucky gets fired from his job as a grocery store bag boy, he finds out through some friends that his mother (Miriam Flynn, National Lampoon's Vacation) and father (Edward Hermann, Gilmore Girls) are ex-semi-famous '70s porn stars. Bucky gets it in his head that his destiny is to head to Hollywood and become an internationally known adult film star, even though he has never had sex or seen a girl naked. The only problem is that Bucky's "manhood" isn't just lacking, but embarrassingly backwards. Bucky catches the eye of a veteran porn director (Don Johnson, Miami Vice) who exploits Bucky's "tiny talent" to great success and butts heads with Dick Shadow (Stephen Dorff, Blade). Meanwhile, Bucky has become smitten with naive waitress (Christina Ricci, Black Snake Moan) who loves him despite his bowl haircut and dental defects. Will Bucky be able to make his way through the seedy parts of Tinsel Town with his dignity and genitals intact? Can he make it in the XXX business? Does anyone give a #&$@?!

Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star is every bit as bad as you've heard. Breathtakingly bad. To use a metaphor that fans of this movie will understand, it's like having my (editor's note: we can't print that) put into a steel-pronged vice while my (editor's note: oh hell no) is being roasted on an open fire. It's a movie made for 13-year-old boys who find masturbation jokes and tiny penises the pinnacle of comedic art. You don't watch a movie like this; you gaze at it with sad reverence that anyone involved with its creation didn't throw themselves off a cliff immediately after the wrap party.

Everything about this movie is more than just dumb…it's functionally retarded. I heard from other reviewers that there wasn't a single laugh to be found in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, and that sounded just a bit too melodramatic to be true. Then I watched Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star and I can now definitively inform you the funeral you attend for your closest friend or beloved spouse will be funnier than sitting through this waste of digital celluloid.

Nick Swardson's Bucky Larson is a grotesque savant whose buck teeth and thick midwestern Fargo-esque accent feel like an obnoxious child trying to put on a show at your family reunion. You know, the one you wanted to poke in the eye with a sharp stick just to shut him up. Christina Ricci looks positively ashamed to be in this movie; I hope she took her paycheck and gave it to starving orphans in Africa, as that's the only way her work here could produce a positive outcome. Other actors like Stephen Dorff and Kevin Nealon (Weeds) are tremendously terrible; Nealon in particular grates the nerves, playing a character who just shouts at everyone because…well, apparently SHOUTING IS VERY, VERY FUNNY. SEE, DIDN'T YOU JUST BUST A GUT READING ALL THESE CAPS?!?! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

** ahem **

There isn't a single character here who endears themselves to the audience. How in the world did the filmmakers wrangle so many successful people into making a movie that lands on the floor with a sickening thud? I'd comment on the story, but what story? It's just a guy trying to make it in porn. He falls in love with a girl and needs to be okay with who he is. The basic construct of this movie has been around since before Jesus Christ roamed the earth (early cavemen did this same story: "Thag need figure out how love himself so Trog love Thag back"), so you can imagine how uninspired this whole thing feels. Also, shame on the band Journey for allowing director Tom Brady (The Hot Chick) to use their hit "Faithfully" during the climax (pun intended). Seriously, guys—have some musical discernment next time Hollywood comes calling.

I'd like to hear the reason why Hollywood seems so enamored with the porn industry. Pornography itself just isn't that funny. Even the most amusing movie about the adult film industry, Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Orgazmo, isn't much more than a silly trifle aimed at the same age group. With this film, Happy Madison Productions—a film banner that has never been known for quality work—proves that producer Adam Sandler should be stopped by whatever means necessary. If these are the movies my kids look back fondly on in 20 years, I won't need to worry about the future of cinema, because clearly the apocalypse will have already happened.

Also, Don Johnson was in this movie as a porn character named "Miles Deep." That should tell you everything you should know about the quality of Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.

This whole mess is just…abysmal. Skip it at all costs.

Presented in standard definition 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is serviceable but nothing special. Shot without any real style or interest, this feels like a made-for-TV movie. The image is mostly clear and looks good, which is a lot more than the movie deserves. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround in English, French, Spanish, and Thai. The soundtrack is fairly aggressive, often utilizing classic '70s and '80s songs (a staple in Sandler's films), through both the front and rear speakers. Subtitles are offered in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.

With so many classic films given bare bones releases, how does something as vomit-inducing such as Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star get bonus features? Life is certainly a cruel mistress. Fans of the film (all five of them) get three featurettes ("Laughter is Contagious," "Behind the Truth," and "Gary: Tough Customer"), as well as a look at Bucky's orgasms ("Bucky Sparkles"), and some previews for other Sony titles. Some of you may be disappointed this release doesn't come with a digital copy, but I think Sony is just doing you a favor. Do you really want anyone residing in the general public to know you watched Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star?

The Verdict

I can think of a lot better things you could be doing than watching this, most of which involve radiation treatment or licking dirty syringes.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 25

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Thai)
• English
• Chinese
• French
• Korean
• Spanish
• Thai
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes


• IMDb
• Official Site

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