When I went to see The Great Buck Howard, I was fortunate enough that Sean McGinly, the writer/director of this movie, did a Q&A afterwards. Though this is not his first time with both writing and directing responsibilities, he seems to be really in his element with this film. According to McGinly, the first 15 minutes or so, of the movie, are based completely off his own experiences, which completely blew my mind.
The story is about young Troy (Colin Hanks) who is unhappy with his situation in college, so he decides to ditch it. He knows he wants to be writer, but doesn’t know how to go about making it a reality. He hunts for jobs and lands upon an ad in the paper that promises work with a celebrity. This is when he meets Buck Howard (John Malkovich). The rest of the story revolves around Troy’s relationship to Buck and the roller-coaster career that Buck fights through.
The character of Buck Howard is based upon, real-life mentalist, The Amazing Kreskin. It would be hard to believe that a person like Buck Howard were real, is not for the realistic and yet hilarious performance by Malkovich. His character is egotistic, moody, hammy, and often times, a complete asshole, but yet there is a side of him that is completely intriguing. He’s not a person you would ever want to deal with in real life and yet he’s remarkably watchable. They were lucky to have Malkovich attached to this film, because very few other actors would have has the charm and acting ability to carry such a role.
The film also features a series of great cameos such as: Tom Hanks (briefly shown as Troy’s father), Conan O’brien, John Stewart, Jay Leno, and another very funny surprise guest star, famous for a certain show that took place in outer space.
Full of inspirational moments and hopeful themes, you can tell that this movie is extremely sincere in it’s deliveries. It’s rated PG, which means you can bring your kids. This movie misses the mark of being an excellent film, however, it does guarantee that we will be hearing much more about the young writer/director, Sean McGinly.