Sorcerer’s apprentice

The Great Buck Howard
Director: Sean McGinly
Screenwriter: Sean McGinly
Cast: Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Steve Zahn
Release Date: 2009-03-18
Rated: PG
Genre: Film

Hey, Tom: I’d be disturbed to find out you’re reading this review right now, because the only way I can think for you to’ve found it is by googling “Tom Hanks + penguin felching.” But I’m glad my gambit got your attention nonetheless, you perverted bastard, because I’d like to talk to you about your son Colin.

He doesn’t seem like a bad guy, and he’s not even a bad actor. He just isn’t you. Not only does he lack your charisma and non-threatening good looks, it’s impossible for most of us to look at him and see anything other than Forrest Gump’s kid. So I understand why you feel the need to boost his acting career as high as your ridiculous likeability will allow, but producing Buck Howard — a film starring John Malkovich at his most unbearable (which is really saying something) as a bitchy has-been magician so that your son could play his sackless aspiring-writer personal assistant — isn’t doing Colin any favors.

The film’s decent cast (Malkovich, Blunt, Zahn, with cameos from Conan O’Brien, John Stewart) contrasted with its ABC Family original movie script and production values indicates some serious favors have been called in (how many puppies have you seen Malkovich barbecue?) and makes you look like the kind of dad who made his kid’s science-fair projects for him all the way through high school. And the fact that you actually play poor Colin’s father in the film makes me suspect you used to kissed him goodbye when you dropped him off at college every morning. Not a good impression for Colin as a leading man. Also not helpful: Colin absolutely nails the character of Troy — a bland, talentless, directionless human being who should never, ever be the subject of an entire film. His ambitions are irritating clichés, and his grating Wonder Years voice-over narration — constantly summarizing the action as it’s happening and explaining the character’s feelings while they’re talking — is a viscious blow to the brain balls.

After 90 minutes of this crap, the closing screen — revealing the entire film to be a giant back-pat for the Amazing Kreskin, who (spoiler alert) really is amazing, like for real — is the final bit of proof needed to convict you, Mr. Hanks, of being inhumanly nice to the point of your own son’s detriment. A vanity project about a magician no one’s given a shit about in 30 years should’ve been paid for entirely by Kreskin’s kids (if he has any) for a single-night screening at his birthday party (assuming he’s still alive; I seriously don’t even care enough to do a Wikipedia search on the man), not sponsored by an aging but still semi-relevant celebrity in an attempt to help his son succeed in the family business. The only way any of this makes sense is if Colin’s secret aspiration isn’t an acting career but getting the chance to pretend to sleep with Emily Blunt, in which case I sympathize completely.

Please disregard the above comments, Mr. Hanks, if you actually made this movie as a vehicle for the triumphant return of Police Academy’s mouth-fart maestro Michael Winslow. If so, nicely done, sir.•

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