Chuck & Buck
Chuck & Buck is often disturbing, but remains watchable thanks to director Arteta's fine blend of urban horror and dark humor.
Reviewed by Mike Emery, Fri., July 20, 2001
Chuck & Buck
D: Miguel Arteta (2000); with Chris Weitz, Mike White, Paul Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt.
What happens when your childhood best friend refuses to grow up? And what happens when said friend just won't leave you alone? Buck (White) is a 27-year-old who still lives at home with a room full of toys and board games. Chuck (Chris Weitz) is a successful record company executive on the West Coast. When Buck's mother passes away, Chuck and his fiancée attend the funeral but find his lifelong buddy surprisingly blithe about the situation. It seems that Buck's more interested in rekindling their days in the sandbox. So much so, he follows Chuck back to Los Angeles, pops by unexpectedly, calls constantly, and further complicates things by suggesting they play some of the ... ahem "games" they played as youths. Without giving away too much, there's more than meets the eye between these two guys. As eerie as the premise is, White's performance as Buck provides some comic relief. Clad in a windbreaker and constantly sucking on a Charm's Blow Pop, he looks like a Peanuts character. But where Charlie Brown could quote Sartre, this guy still loves fairy tales. Other funny moments are provided by Ontiveros and Paul Weitz, who respectively play the director and star of Buck's semi-autobiographical play, Hank & Frank. Overall, the laughs are few and the tension level is extremely high. It's a squeamish ride, but well written and with competent acting. Chuck & Buck is also a surprising effort considering many of the lead players aren't professional actors (the brothers Weitz helmed American Pie, White served as writer for TV's Freaks and Geeks). The final product is often disturbing, but remains watchable thanks to director Arteta's fine blend of urban horror and dark humor.