Nick Swarsdon, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff
, Ido Mosseri, Kevin Nealon, Edward Herrmann, Mario Joyner, Miriam Flynn
Adam Sandler, Allen Covert, Nick Swardson
There Are No Small Actors. Just Small Parts.
Bucky [Nick Swarsdon] is a small town grocery bagger, going nowhere in life until he discovers that his conservative parents were once adult film stars! Armed with the belief that he has found his destiny, Bucky packs up and heads out to LA, hoping to follow in his parents footsteps. Also starring Christina Ricci, Don Johnson and Stephen Dorff.
$1.415 million on 1500 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 97 min.
Release Date: 1/17/2012
• “Laughter Is Contagious” Gag Reel
• “Behind the Teeth” Featurette
• “Gary: Tough Customer” Featurette
• “Bucky Sparkles” Featurette
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Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (2011)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 12, 2012)
Having spent years as a supporting actor in flicks like Just Go With It and 30 Minutes or Less, Nick Swardson gets his shot at a lead role via 2011’s Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. After he gets fired from his job as a grocery bagger, Bucky Larson (Swardson) feels depressed. To cheer him up, his friends have a “boys night” and show an old porn movie from the 1970s.
To the shock of all involved, it turns out that Bucky’s parents (Edward Herrmann and Miriam Flynn) worked as adult stars back in the day. Rather than freak him out, this inspires Bucky to fulfill his “destiny” so he decides to move to LA and become a porn star. We follow his adventures as the innocent man-child attempts to live up to his parents’ naughty legacy.
If nothing else, one must give Adam Sandler credit for his loyalty to his friends. First he helped long-time pal/collaborator Allen Covert – also a co-writer of Star - take the lead in 2006’s Grandma’s Boy, and now he gives Swardson a shot at the top with Star. Both flopped, but at least the guys got their chances.
I didn’t expect much from Star. Going into it, I hoped it might be on the same level as the similarly titled Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, meaning I’d get something silly and spotty but moderately enjoyable.
Alas, even those modest dreams proved to be too much for the horrendous Star to achieve. Roberts looks like Spinal Tap compared to the witless, utterly misbegotten Star.
With a film this thoroughly awful, it becomes tough to pinpoint problems – maybe it’d be easier to discuss the parts of the movie that work.
Star musters a decent to good cast; in addition to the folks already named, we find performers like Christina Ricci, Stephen Dorff, and Don Johnson. (Surprisingly, Sandler offers no cameo.) Rather than elevate the material, they just seem to fall to its low level. I don’t know how they ended up in Star, but they don’t appear happy to be there, and they can’t do anything with the low-quality material.
Indeed, no one can make chicken salad out of this chicken… stuff. Swardson shows no ability to carry a movie at all. Granted, I’m not sure if anyone else could’ve done much with a character as uninspired as Bucky, but Swardson looks out of place when asked to lead a film. He sticks with the same lame attempts at character humor – most of which revolve around Bucky’s accent, teeth and hair – and can’t find any greater personality to display.
Director Tom Brady shows uninspired skills behind the camera. The movie progresses at a slow, indifferent rate and never really seems to know where it wants to go. Even with a short flick that boasts minor story/character-oriented ambitions, this one feels aimless.
Most of these problems could be forgiven if anything funny ever materialized, but virtually no amusement ever results from the on-screen action. The concept itself is a dud, and the attempts to exploit the theme feel tawdry and stale. No matter how many gags the movie throws at the wall, none of them stick.
Which leaves us with a thoroughly unpleasant 97 minutes. Can I find movies less enjoyable than Star? Sure – even as much as I disliked it, I won’t claim it’s the crummiest comedy committed to celluloid. That’s not exactly an endorsement, though, and the flick still ends up as a total bomb.
The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only a smattering of fairly minor issues affected the transfer.
For the most part, sharpness looked good. At times, wider shots tended to be a little soft, but those examples weren’t terribly intrusive. Much of the film appeared pretty accurate and concise. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.
In terms of colors, Star tended to stay with a natural palette. Hues took on a light golden tone at times, but that stylistic choice didn’t overwhelm. Instead, the colors appeared pretty clear and concise. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.
I thought that the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Star seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.
Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, like at a party; that sequence boasted lively music. However, most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.
Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.
Only a smattering of extras fill out the DVD. Laughter Is Contagious goes for five minutes, 16 seconds and delivers a gag reel. Sometimes packages like this throw in some amusing alternate takes, but this one sticks with the standard collection of goofs and giggles. It’s not entertaining.
Three featurettes follow. Behind the Teeth goes for 11 minutes, 22 seconds and provides notes from director Tom Brady, writer Allen Covert, writer/actor Nick Swardson, and actors Christina Ricci, Kevin Nealon, Edward Herrmann, Miriam Flynn, Stephen Dorff, Don Johnson, Ido Mosseri, and Adam Herschman. The piece looks at story and characters as well as cast and performances. It’s a thin, superficial piece with no real information on display.
Gary: Tough Customerlasts four minutes, 20 seconds and features Swardson, Nealon, Ricci, Basically this is another gag reel, as it mostly consists of silliness related to one of Nealon’s scenes. Nothing much makes it useful.
Finally, Bucky Sparkles lasts two minutes, 29 seconds and includes notes from Brady, and actors Meredith Giangrande and Dana Min Goodman. The clip looks at the Bucky orgasm scenes. Like “Gary”, it’s mostly outtakes and it’s not particularly interesting.
The disc launches with promos for Jack and Jill, 30 Minutes or Less, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and Attack the Block. These also appear under Previews. No trailer for Star pops up here.
Some films come with no apparent redeeming factors, and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star falls into that category. A misbegotten story with lousy jokes and lackluster performances, nothing about it works. The DVD comes with good picture and audio but lacks substantial supplements. Even the most diehard fan of the Adam Sandler School of Comedy will want to skip this flawed flop.
Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3333 Stars
| Number of Votes: 3