"Chuck and Buck" Movie Review

Starring Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, and Beth Colt

Chuck and Buck is yet another dreadful "indie" movie that makes you wish you could turn back time, or just switch over to an alternate reality where you'd never seen the damned thing in the first place.

The problem with "indie" movies (quotes used to differentiate an "indie" movie from one which is simply "cheap") is that they use a limited palette of emotion. You've got "revolting" and "that uncanny feeling that something significant is just about to happen," and that's pretty much it. Nothing significant ever DOES happen, of course; it just FEELS like it's going to.

Chuck and Buck alternates predictably between the two, which is really too bad. The premise of the movie is that Chuck and Buck were childhood friends, and that Chuck eventually moved away and grew up, while Buck did not. Buck is the kind of person who's described as "child-like," "artless," or "frozen in time" by people who like indie movies, and "retarded" by people who don't. Buck assumes that he and Chuck are still friends, and can't understand why Chuck isn't interested in hanging out with him any more.

That's a good premise. You could do a lot with that premise. You could hire some former stars of Saturday Night Live and make a slapstick comedy. You could hire Tom Hanks and make a poignant and touching Hallmark sort of movie. You could hire Wes Craven and turn it into a wickedly creepy slasher flick.

Unfortunately, the guy who wrote Chuck and Buck decided that HE should play the part of Buck. And then he hired the guy who wrote The Nutty Professor 2 and produced American Pie to play the part of Chuck. And then they found five or six other people who had even LESS acting experience, and they hired THOSE people to play the parts of the play-within-a-play actors. And I guess this was supposed to be funny in a darkly ironic "indie" movie hipster sort of way, but instead it was just AWFUL.

I can't even bring myself to relate the string of unlikely and artificial twists of fate and plot that define this movie. It's so full of "indie" that it actually employs the device of a play-within-a-play which is put on by Chuck in an attempt to trick Buck into revealing the truth, or falling back in love with him, or... well, okay, I'm not really sure what the play-within-a-play is actually meant to accomplish.

Actually, that goes for the movie as a whole. I'm not really sure what it's meant to accomplish. It comes as no surprise that Chuck is actually in love with Buck, and that Chuck and Buck used to... well, put it this way; their names rhyme for a reason, if you catch my drift. Don't think the script is going to let that handy rhyming scheme go to waste, either! Quite the contrary; it rubs your nose in it.

There's a terrible fear of being deemed homophobic which haunts our public words these days, and a movie like this plays on that fear. It taunts you with it. "Don't like me? You're homophobic!" Let me give it to you straight (ha ha). I hated this movie. And I am not homophobic.

I don't mind if two guys kiss on-screen; however, I DO mind when one of the guys is the ugliest damn throwback I've ever seen. I definitely mind if he's only kissing the other guy because his emotional growth is fixed back at the point when they were both 11 years old. To compound the horror, the other guy is only letting the retard kiss him out of some misguided sense of pity. That's just one very small step away from pedophilia, and therefore we get emotion #2: revulsion.

At the end of the movie, neither of the characters has been changed a whit by their experiences during the course of the movie. How appalling, that the entire movie would have absolutely no effect on anyone on screen! One can only draw the conclusion that the entire thing was staged just to gross out the audience. (When they're not being plagued by that uncanny feeling that something significant is about to happen. A feeling, I might add, which almost always goes unfulfilled.)

Summary: A harrowing and completely useless experience.

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