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flick pick | Chuck and Buck 2000
Directed by: Miguel Artega
Written by: Mike White
Starring: Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: drama
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:   
darkly comic, disturbing
The verdict: / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis Chuck and Buck were childhood best friends. Then Chuck moved away, grew up, and became a big-shot music producer in L.A. Buck stayed home, lived with his odd parents, and never really evolved beyond the emotional state of the already- backwards eleven-year-old that he was when Chuck left. Years later, when Buck’s mom dies, leaving Buck all alone, Chuck – now Charlie – returns to town to pay his respects. He’s brought Carlyn, his fiancée, along with him, and looks every inch the successful schmoozer that he’s become. He’s one of those glib people that automatically says to someone, "Hey, look me up if you’re ever in town," even when it’s entirely clear to any socially normal person that he has no intention of really continuing a relationship. But Buck’s not normal, and ends up following Charlie to L.A. As Charlie does his best to subtly break off ties, Buck begins stalking Charlie in earnest. In one final effort to capture Charlie’s attention, Buck hires the manager of a children’s theatre to direct a play he’s written about their friendship – or his twisted take on it, at any rate.

Review If you’re not a fan of the Todd Solondz school of seriously disturbing character-driven films, save yourself the four bucks and skip Chuck and Buck. But for those of you who can stomach the creepy, who, when you say something’s "weird," don’t accompany the proclamation with a wrinkled nose of distaste, Chuck and Buck offers a fascinating, unique look at a very complex character, and how two people can be in the same place, doing the same things, at the same time, and still walk away taking entirely different experiences with them. Chuck and Buck is really Buck’s story. We never end up sympathizing with "poor" stalked Charlie, who with his Tom-Cruise-chiseled good looks gives you the distinct feeling that he actually likes being all glossy surface and no inner substance. Buck, on the other hand, with goggly eyes and mouth always slightly agape, doesn’t have that protective outer coating that most adults develop to keep the occasional ugliness of the their emotions hidden away from the world. There’s something decidedly child-like about Buck – as underscored by the jarringly sweet, indie-pop score – but in a way that threatens our adult expectations of how grown-ups are supposed to act. It’s a credit to Mike White – as both writer and star – that we viewers are never quite sure how we’re supposed to feel about Buck. Buck isn’t meant to be either likeable or loathesome; he’s not some Hollywood caricature of the idiot savant that enlightens through his innocence, nor is he merely some deranged stalker. Which makes for some mighty interesting viewing, even if it does make you squirm. — reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun 

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