Directed by: Tom Brady (The Comebacks)
Starring: Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff, Kevin Nealon
New York Times critic A.O. Scott has gone on record stating that Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star is the worst film Pauly Shore has ever appeared in, while challenging anyone with a Netflix account—and sufficient nerve—to prove him wrong. Unfortunately, Mr. Scott’s claims are dealt from a stacked deck, since you’d be hard pressed to find a worse picture in anyone’s filmography. And I’m not being hyperbolic here—this might be the worst film I’ve ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes on. At least Pootie Tang (2001) has charm.
You want just a small idea of how bad this movie is? Shore—who just makes a cameo in the movie—is the least of the film’s problems. Right from the start, with Nick Swardson’s unfunny Prince Valiant haircut and fake buckteeth, the biggest problem with the film is that this garbage is being fobbed off the public as comedy. The film is the latest from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, and it’s true to that company’s brand of comedy—I use that term loosely—in that it’s mostly a collection of random nonsequiturs and depressing middle-school sex humor. It’s what happens when writers suffering from arrested development decide write for the lowest common denominator.
The film revolves around the titular Bucky Larson (played by Swardson), an Iowa bumpkin with zero understanding of human sexuality. After learning his parents were porn stars in the 1970s, he’s struck with the urge to move to California and follow in his parents’ footsteps. Here, we get exactly two types of jokes—ones making fun of Bucky’s teeth or ones making fun of the minuscule size of his member. That’s it, besides some (hopefully) artificial semen. The addition of Don Johnson and Stephen Dorff to the cast is another kind of joke, one that appears to have been played on them by their agents.
The biggest problem with Bucky Larson is that it’s a film about amateurish filmmaking of the porn industry, yet the films it’s making fun of are generally better written, better acted and usually funnier. It’s difficult for me to express how truly awful this film is without resorting to a string of vulgarities not fit for print. I’ve seen dumber movies, and I’ve seen more amateurish displays of filmmaking, but never have I seen a movie so damned superfluous and unneeded. It’s a throwback to Sandler’s heyday of childish films and obnoxious Saturday Night Live skits, only 15 years since a single soul found any of that fresh. Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of this whole nefarious display is that millions of dollars were spent to make it. That it tanked so spectacularly at the box office this past weekend means there’s hope for humanity yet. Rated R for pervasive crude sexual content, language and some nudity.