People like to use the word stupid to criticize the plots of bad comedies, but to do so ignores the fact that most of the funniest comedies ever made hinge upon fundamentally stupid premises. From two suited nitwits singing the blues to a dancing gopher terrorizing a snooty country club, many of the all-time greats are so devoid of logic and common sense that it’s a miracle they ever got produced, but they won us over through cleverness, originality and force of will. There’s nothing wrong with some good old fashioned stupid in a comedy; it’s obvious and lazy that are truly reprehensible.
Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star is, at times, so obvious and lazy that it borders on pathetic. Writers Allen Covert, Adam Sandler and Nick Swardson actually know a thing or two about being funny, but every time their script seems poised to gain momentum, it cops out by making the most obvious and groan-worthy joke possible--it’s infuriating. Take a scene early on in which three friends discover their fourth buddy has never heard of masturbation. They're flabbergasted, he's outraged that he’s missed out on an activity better than Donkey Kong, but then the whole thing devolves into a long series of names and euphemisms for jacking off we’ve all heard before. Payoff swiftly avoided.
Bucky Larson (Nick Swardson) thought he’d be bagging groceries until he was “gray in the hair” in his one stoplight Iowa town. Destiny had other plans. Fired for talking about Cool Ranch Doritos instead of doing his job, he takes his buck-teeth and bowl cut over to a friend’s house to drown his sorrows in a porn movie. There, that should-have-been-hilarious masturbation conversation takes place with his buddies who alternate between derisive and concerned. Not that Bucky notices. He’s transfixed by something familiar on the screen, two something familiars in fact. It turns out his sweet, quiet-natured parents were extremely successful porn stars once upon a time. He’s overjoyed.
Convinced he finally found his calling, Bucky and his famous DNA board a bus headed to California. Unfortunately, a gay farmer, his pig and the song “Mmmbop” are along for the ride. Why this particular Iowan had to be gay, what he needed his pig for and how come Hanson was chosen as a soundtrack are questions never answered, but nonetheless, all three are representative of the film’s willingness to ruin forward progress by groveling for least common denominator jokes. Sick and fucked-up I could handle, unoriginal and tired I cannot. Famished from the journey, Bucky stops at a local diner where he meets a lonely server (Christina Ricci) named Kathy who’s downtrodden because she’s lost the confidence to carry trays. A terrible soup-spilling accident left an old woman hospitalized and crushed her dreams of working at an elegant restaurant. She sees hope in the naïve stranger, and he sees kindness in her. Together, they set out to realize their ambitions.
Luckily for Bucky, an X-rated macaroni n cheese audition that should have ended in his registering on a sex offender list puts him in touch with a former porn director who grew up watching his parents' movies. He takes him to a party at Dick Shadow’s (Stephen Dorff), the most successful male porn star in the industry. He’s thrown off a roof and booted for having a small penis, but where Dick Shadow sees hopelessness, Miles Deep (Don Johnson) sees a niche market. He enlists Bucky to shoot a throwback porno, but the incident ends in Bucky prematurely ejaculating and the footage being uploaded to a free porn website as a joke. Within days, millions of people are buzzing about the comic mishap, leading to more porn and more problems.
Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star is a wild stab at comedy wholly unfit, based on premise alone, for most moviegoers. It could have easily been an off-beat, wildly underrated cult classic like Allen Covert and Nick Swardson’s previous effort Grandma’s Boy, but instead it’s a completely disjointed film that plays like one screenwriter pushed for unique, R-rated hilarity while the others nervously threw in gags to mildly please the twelve year old boy demographic.
I love the idea of a woman who’s spent her life trying to overcome the odds to be a waitress. I love the idea of a porn star who can’t do his job because he’s too excited by women. I love the idea of Kevin Nealon berating Nick Swardson for eating one grape, but mixed with cheap shit like a redneck getting peanut butter licked off his balls by an animal, every fresh idea gets covered in the stink of below-average retread jokes. It’s like a talented stand-up comedian putting mother in law cracks as segues between the good material. It tarnishes all the positives by proxy, and ultimately, it’s just not worth it.
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