×

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

"Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star" is one of the most astonishingly unfunny films of this or any other year.

With:
With: Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff, Kevin Nealon, Edward Herrmann, Miriam Flynn, Ido Mosseri, Mario Joyner, Pauly Shore, Nick Turturro, Jimmy Fallon.

Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production shingle often alternates between the star’s own, bigger-budgeted vehicles and decidedly downmarket pics featuring his buddies. The latter category reaches an almost impossibly low nadir with the Nick Swardson-starring porn-industry comedy “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star,” one of the most astonishingly unfunny films of this or any other year. Judging from the pic’s dismal opening-day numbers (it was not screened for critics), this may be one of those rare cases in which the general public decides there are certain cinematic troughs to which it simply will not descend.

Aside from its failures on the technical, narrative and humanitarian levels, “Bucky Larson” applies a brain-dead kidpic mentality to hard-R subject matter. For a film centered entirely around the sex trade, the pic is terrified of anything resembling actual human sexuality, and hardly features any nudity. (Pity the poor 12-year-olds who bother theater-hopping into this one.) Several dozen euphemisms for intercourse and genitals are heard throughout, and few were likely previously uttered outside a grade-school playground.

Popular on Variety

Directed by Tom Brady and scripted by Sandler, Swardson and Allen Covert, the pic starts out in rural Iowa, a slower, simpler place where families gather for nightly Yahtzee matches and old men casually smear peanut butter on their penises for roaming goats to lick off. Bucky (Swardson), a creepily virginal man-child with a pageboy haircut and protruding prosthetic beaver teeth, still lives here happily with his parents (Miriam Flynn, Edward Herrmann) until discovering in the worst possible way that they had a prolific past as fringe ’70s porn stars. Somehow untraumatized by this experience, he decides it’s his destiny to follow in the family business.

Hopping on a Greyhound to L.A., he falls into the good graces of a golden-hearted diner waitress (Christina Ricci), who sets him up with a psychotic roommate (Kevin Nealon) and, against all basic biological instincts, becomes his girlfriend. Bucky’s stud aspirations seem doomed by the little matter of his microscopic endowment and tendency to violently ejaculate in response to anything more titillating than a slight breeze, but a down-on-his-luck porn director (Don Johnson) sees potential in a performer who will make male viewers feel more confident about their own abilities by comparison.

Through all this, one feels nothing more strongly than an acute sympathy for all involved — in particular Ricci, who gives her role more than it deserves, and Herrmann, a classy character actor who once won a Tony. Swardson has been a dutiful team player in Sandler’s bullpen for years, but seems unlikely to break out of supporting status with this as his first starring role. Stephen Dorff is alone in generally seeming to have fun with his part as a preening rival woodman, but that’s not to say that he’s ever actually funny.

Production values are uniformly hideous, but they’re the least of the film’s problems.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Production: A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures presentation of a Happy Madison production. Produced by Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Allen Covert, Nick Swardson, David Dorfman. Co-producer, Betsy Danbury. Directed by Tom Brady. Screenplay, Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson, Allen Covert.

Crew: Camera (color, Deluxe prints), Michael Barrett; editor, Jason Gourson; music, Waddy Wachtel; production designer, Dina Lipton; costume designer, Mary Jane Fort; art director, Marc Dabe; set decorator, Hadina Siwolop; special effects supervisor, Denis Dion; sound (Dolby Digital, SDDS, DTS), Willie Burton; supervising sound editors, Frank Gaeta, Elmo Weber; re-recording mixer, Weber; casting, Lisa London, Catherine Stroud. Reviewed at Mann Chinese 6, Los Angeles, Sept. 9, 2011. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff, Kevin Nealon, Edward Herrmann, Miriam Flynn, Ido Mosseri, Mario Joyner, Pauly Shore, Nick Turturro, Jimmy Fallon.

More Film

  • Remi Bonhomme

    Marrakech Film Festival Taps Cannes Exec Remi Bonhomme as Artistic Director

    Remi Bonhomme, a leading force behind Cannes’ Critics Week, has been appointed artistic director of the Marrakech Film Festival and its industry conference, the Atlas Workshops. In recent years, Bonhomme successfully headed the Atlas Workshops, a platform dedicated to supporting the cinema of the African continent and the Arab world, where he was also part [...]

  • A Stasi Comedy

    Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Leander Haussmann's 'A Stasi Comedy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based Picture Tree International (PTI) has acquired global sales rights to Leander Haussmann’s highly anticipated East German laffer “A Stasi Comedy.” Set in the early 1980s, the film centers on East Germany’s infamous state security service, the Staatssicherheitsdienst or Stasi, and young agent Ludger, played by David Kross (“Balloon,” “The Reader”), who is sent to [...]

  • Berlin: Media Luna Acquires Horror Thriller

    Berlin: Media Luna Acquires Horror Thriller 'Blood-Red Ox' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Media Luna New Films has acquired international rights to Rodrigo Bellott’s horror thriller “Blood-Red Ox.” Bellott directed Bolivia’s Academy Award entries “Sexual Dependency” and “Tu Me Manques,” and was the producer behind Jim Mickle’s U.S. remake of Mexican horror hit “We Are What We Are.” In “Blood-Red Ox,” which is in post-production, a [...]

  • Parasite Movie

    'Parasite' Enjoys Record Box Office Boost After Oscar Wins

    Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is reaping box office riches after its groundbreaking Oscar best picture win. The twisted South Korean thriller collected $5.5 million over the weekend, an exceptional 234% increase in ticket sales and the biggest post-Oscar boost for a best picture winner in the past decade. In the seven days since the Academy [...]

  • Nikita Pearl Waligwa

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, Actor in Disney's 'Queen of Katwe,' Dies at 15

    Nikita Pearl Waligwa, an actor who appeared in Disney’s biographical drama “Queen of Katwe,” has died, according to BBC and the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor. She was 15. Waligwa had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016 and seemed to recover a year later. However, in 2019, another tumor was found. “Queen of Katwe” [...]

  • James Marsden and Sonic (Ben Schwartz)

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Dominates Box Office With Mighty $57 Million Debut

    Paramount’s family film “Sonic the Hedgehog” ignited over Presidents’ Day weekend with $57 million in North America and $100 million globally, the biggest showing ever for a video game adaptation. “Sonic” is expected to earn $68-70 million through Monday, one of the best results for the holiday weekend. The better-than-expected start is even more notable [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content