Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Some movies receive such terrible reviews that you have to watch just to see what the fuss is about (see: Troll 2). Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star crashes into that category with a thud at which you can’t even ironically laugh.


Bucky (Nick Swardson) finds out his parents (Edward Herrmann and Miriam Flynn) were two of the original porn stars from the seventies. Following completely natural logic, he presumes his destiny is to follow in their footsteps and become a star. Once in Los Angeles – more specifically the SF Valley, or porn capital of the world – Bucky befriends Kathy (Christina Ricci), works with Miles Deep (Don Johnson), rivals Dick Shadow (Stephen Dorff) and builds his celebrity by making every guy look good due to his…sexual inadequacies.

Before I go further, let me clarify that I love some stupid humor movies made by the Happy Madison crew (Joe Dirt, Grandma’s Boy to name a few), but Bucky Larson is just flat-out awful. Any movie that has a man putting peanut butter on his scrotum within the first forty-five seconds is destined for infamy. To be fair, the film improves once Bucky leaves small town Iowa, but “improves” is a loose term here.

Nick Swardson has decently funny stand-up and has been entertaining in his small roles in Adam Sandler helmed films, but making this his first attempt at a lead role should have never left the brainstorming sessions. He dives into the character head first, which is commendable, but the number of jokes that fall flat vastly outnumbers the ones that garner a small snort or chuckle. I honestly cannot even remember a joke to repeat here – apart from the plethora of sexual slang Bucky misinterprets.

With the likes of Stephen Dorff and Don Johnson representing the porn community, Bucky legitimately brings up an interesting point regarding the marketing schemes of the adult industry. They ask, “Why make your main audience feel inferior, instead of boosting their confidence?” This is a noble observation and one, if portrayed in the right context (or with better writing), which could have some implications, but is overshadowed by the failed attempts at humor.

Kevin Nealon and Christina Ricci, two actors who I previously had a modicum of respect for, chose roles that were beneath them. Nealon, as the aggravated roommate Gary, couldn’t land a joke and came off as more bitter than comically cruel. Ricci, while looking beautiful throughout, plays a waitress whose goal in life is… wait for it… to be a waitress!! Her traumatic, hand-trembling moment hindering her from reaching her higher goal was spilling soup on a woman, so she’s stuck at a diner. Kathy, like the rest of the characters, is largely forgettable.

Watching a film like Bucky Larson makes me sad because I can only pray that the films I enjoyed as a kid of the Happy Gilmore ilk were not this bad. The one “bright” spot of this film was an appearance by Pauly Shore – Bio Dome is great and no one can convince me otherwise.

Anyway, if it wasn’t clear already, don’t bother. Bucky Larson is as bad as advertised.

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