Chuck & Buck (2000)

  • Year: 2000
  • Released: 04 Aug 2000
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: 6 wins & 12 nominations
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: R
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Runtime: 96 min
  • Writer: Mike White
  • Director: Miguel Arteta
  • Cast: Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros
  • Keywords: los angeles, california, childhood friends, mentally handicapped man,

Chuck & Buck Storyline

Chuck and Buck were best friends growing up until Chuck moved away when he was 11. Sixteen years later, Chuck (now Charlie) is a successful music executive, but Buck is still has the emotional maturity of an 11-year-old. When Buck’s mother dies, he looks up Charlie, whom he hasn’t seen since they were kids, and initiates a relationship. Charlie is embarrassed by Buck’s emotional immaturity and tries to cut off all contact. Shattered by this rejection, Buck stalks Charlie and his fiancée Charlyn until Charlie is forced to re-examine their childhood relationship.—maggi

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Chuck & Buck Movie Reviews

fascinating movie that avoids predictability

The notable thing about Chuck & Buck is not just that it’s a clever, well made movie with a fascinatingly odd central character, but that it doesn’t go where you expect it to. At first Chuck & Buck seems like a more serious take on The Cable Guy, another weird movie about a strange stalker. Buck is a truly weird, disturbing guy, an adult seemingly incapable of leaving his childhood behind and unable to understand the world around him.

But the relationship between the principals is more nuanced than one is first lead to think and the movie refuses to make any of the obvious choices, moving it beyond fascinatingly weird to genuinely intelligent and thoughtful. Much of the movie’s appeal is undeniably its weirdness, but the movie is far more than a one-trick pony.

One of the best, least-seen films of the year

The emotional world of Chuck & Buck’s titular Buck is explicated early on as Buck (Mike White), a 27 year old mentally-challenged individual, is shown living in a kitschy suburban home that is decoratively informed by his taste for childlike pleasures. After his mother dies, Buck decides to re-establish ties with his boyhood best friend Chuck (Chris Weitz), a record executive now living in Los Angeles with his fiancée Carlyn (Beth Colt). Buck packs up his belongings and moves to the West Coast, setting in motion a troubling series of events so grotesquely humorous and touching that I’m pressed to call the film the scariest film of the year.

When Chuck and Buck were 11, they were best friends, and a decade and a half later they find themselves leading decidedly different lives. The phony-looking Tom Cruise-type that Chuck has become apparently leaves him incapable of realizing that the sixteen years that have separated the two men has caused Buck to live in a child-like world of arrested development. There is a rhyme to Buck’s pursuit of Chuck and as Buck begins to stalk his friend it becomes clear that there was something entirely more complex to their friendship than initially meets that eyes.

One wickedly morbid utterance by to his friend Chuck reveals that the two men, as boys, shared a sexual relationship. Buck’s mental state has little to do with his childhood experimentation so his pursuit of Chuck has little to do with homosexual desire than it has to do with wallowing in a childhood comfort that has long been lost. Chuck, who viewed the experiences with Buck as nothing but the curious experimentation between two young boys, is forced to face the ramifications of the actions he made long ago and the film takes an interesting twist that says plenty about the repressed and inconsiderate desires of yuppie America.

Lupe Ontiveros, thankless owner of stereotypically Hispanic characters in films like Selena and As Good As It Gets, almost single-handedly steals the show as the manager that decides to put up a play written by Buck called Hank and Frank. The psychodrama presented in Buck’s play is a homoerotic (and misogynistic) tale of child-lust that is given a Wizard of Oz spin that makes the proceedings all the more troubling. Ontiveros juggles the right amount of dry wit and maternal instinct as she prods into Buck’s dangerously unstable mind.

There is a sense of dread in Chuck & Buck that is near chilling. This isn’t a gross exaggeration because there is a scene in the film between Buck and a young boy that is so twisted and misleading that one is forced to wonder if the scene is an outtake from Solandz’ Happiness. From the film’s oddly addictive theme song to colorful performances, Chuck & Buck not only harbors the creepiest catch phrase of the year (and the one least to be uttered) but the most sardonic and challenging take on the truncated sexual persona.

What do you do in L.A., Buck?

What a surprising beautiful and tragic film that Mike White has created. I say Mike White instead of the director (who also did an exemplary job) because it was his penmanship that crafted this film into such a powerhouse. When I rented the film, I did not expect to be so submerged with so many bold styles and emotional thematic elements. I was not expecting to see such a high caliber of acting and storytelling mixed together into one small Sundance winning picture. In other words, I wasn’t expecting really anything when I placed this film into my DVD player, so when the film finished and I picked my jaw off the floor, it became instantly clear that I would never experience another film like this one again. From the way that it was filmed, to the small budget of the production, to even the taboo subject it presented, Chuck & Buck is one of those films that will shock, amaze, and really pull at the strings of your heart. It is a film, first and foremost, about friendship and the destructive impact that childhood moments can have on our futures.

I cannot speak of this film without mentioning first the brilliant mind of Mike White. Not only did he accomplish the first challenge of this film … writing it, but he also stole the entire film by also playing one of the leads, Buck. While most film watchers, sadly, will remember him as Jack Black’s friend in School of Rock, his true talents are completely showcased in this film. He completely looses himself in this character and it is absolutely obvious to those of us watching the film. During all of this film, I never once saw Mike White, the actor, but instead I saw the character of Buck. That is a rare accomplishment in the acting world. Nine times out of ten in these types of films, you are handed moments where the actor or actress is simply themselves with a different type of voice. That is not the case with Mike White, he completely embodies his character. From the hand motions, voice, and even reactions, he is Buck. He is the character he has set out to play. This can happen because you can tell he is very compelled to this character. He is not into the story for the money, but instead to tell the story as honestly as possible. This was very obvious throughout the film. These actors, now directors and writers, placed their heart and soul into this picture, and it seeped through the television. This is truly one of those rare instances where you could see why people decide to make films.

While I wasn’t overly impressed with the acting ability of Chris Weitz (since Mike White overshadowed him), he did help contribute to the overall scheme of the story. This is a thrilling tale, and it is difficult to see it as the comedy that IMDb has labeled. This was a completely human story told with such precise honesty and honor that I have no doubts that anyone that watches it will walk away with a different perspective. This wasn’t your typical “stalker” film, there were so many different and deep layers to this story that you could easily watch it three or four times a day and still get caught up in a different aspect. I don’t know if this makes sense or not, but there were moments when I could see the friendship, the insanity, and the sorrow. The ending brought the story full circle and really had me in suspense until the final moments. Nothing is handed to you right away, as the story develops, you are shown more and more until the utter power of this film is hanging on your own shoulders. It is deep and amazing, and I cannot stop using that word “amazing” enough.

Overall, I thought this was an exceptional film for 2000. I think that White should have been handed more and more acting roles throughout the years, but it still makes me happy to see him writing. This was a film about friends who never quite left their childhood years, and have been waiting for that one moment to close the door of to their past. This is not a film for everyone, but if chosen to explore will reveal some thickly layered characters with superb acting by Mr. White. This is a drama that carries relevance in today’s society and will continue forever to be a cultural staple in the film world. I loved it, and hope others will see the powerful nature of Chuck & Buck.

Grade: **** out of *****