The Great Buck Howard should probably be called The Pretty Good Buck Howard, The Okay Colin Hanks or The Brilliant John Malkovich. Hanks stars as a young man who quits law school, moves to Los Angeles, and gets a job as the travel manager for the Great Buck Howard, a down-and-out mentalist (read: not magician) who once appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 61 times. His fame still gets him half sold out shows in little towns around the United States. Arrogant and demanding, Howard is the worst kind of boss to work for (think Meryl Streep from Devil Wears Prada without the success), but at least it’s better than law school. Emily Blunt plays a publicist, hired to help relaunch the performer’s fading career.
The film features a bunch of fun cameos from the likes of everyone from the sound effects guy from Police Academy, George Takei to even Tom Hanks, who makes an appearance as Colin’s father (who woulda thought?). Too bad Tom’s charisma didn’t get passed on to young Hanks, who isn’t a bad actor, just not a great one. The script could have used a few more polishes, as I’m not sure the romantic relationship between Hanks and Blunt and the father son relationship between Hanks and Hanks was well explored, or even required. Buck Howard is a cartoon character, but Malkovich brilliantly brings the caricature to life.
/Film Rating: 7 out of 10