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Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

September 10, 2011
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

I hardly know where to begin with Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. This may be the strongest contender yet this awards season, and stands a good chance of setting the record for the film taking home the greatest number of Golden Raspberry awards ever.

Bucky Larson (Nick Swardson, with a UV-fluorescent dental prosthetic) is a dumb, backwater hayseed from the middle of nowhere, Iowa. Which, in the minds of Swardson and writer-producer Adam Sandler, makes him a typical resident of the flyover states. After Bucky gets fired from his job bagging groceries his friends decide to cheer him up with an old 16-millimeter stag film from the ’70s, only to realize while watching it that the stars are actually his parents under noms de porn (Edward Herrmann and Miriam Flynn).

Evidently the two had an unlikely short career back then, which inspires Bucky to head west and seek his fortunes. He lands in Laurel Canyon and meets Kathy (Christina Ricci), a preternaturally sweet — yet bizarrely troubled — waitress at a terrible diner. She hooks him up with a psychopath in her apartment complex looking for a roommate (Kevin Nealon). And then he trips over his pants into meeting the current big swinging dick of the porn industry, Dick Shadow (Stephen Dorff), as well as down-and-out director Miles Deep (Don Johnson).

One thing leads to another, more by authorial fiat than any natural evolution. Bucky turns out to be endowed with hair and flesh between his legs in roughly the opposite proportion to most porn stars, but somehow this actually makes him a hot commodity on the internet. And not just to hand around and laugh at between shots of guys falling off of buildings with and without skateboards.

Not only is the whole premise stupid, but the gags are stupid, the writing is stupid, the characters are stupid, and the plot is stupid. The only thing stupider about this movie is the sense of dread that somehow it’s going to recoup its production costs and we will get even more of the same.

It’s a point of faith that many people go to Hollywood seeing their stardom, and many of them end up doing awful, disgusting, degrading things on the way up. Evidently the same is true after a career’s peak, or else I have no explanation for Johnson’s or Ricci’s presence in this steaming pile; Swardson, I have no confusion about.

In fact, this is basically the sense I get of how this movie came together. Some producer at Comedy Central had an hour to fill, and he stuck a Nick Swardson special in there. Stoned college kids, who will watch the paint-drying-network if someone leaves it on, feed his ratings. He gets picked up for minor supporting roles with other stoner-comedy icons like Danny McBride who, I must say in passing, I have significantly more respect for. Eventually he builds up enough political credits to get a movie made as his own personal vehicle. He’s a huge porn fan, but knows he could never be taken seriously playing a real porn star. So he looks up the lowest-brow, highest-profile producer out there — Adam Sandler — to come up with a way of writing him onto the screen opposite as many porn starlets as he can.

So here’s hoping that he’s gotten this totally out of his system and we will never be subjected to this sort of thing again. Prepare to have your hopes dashed.

Worth It: never. I would rather watch Hall Pass again.
Bechdel Test: fail.

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