Bucky Larson (Nick Swardson) is a small-town, buck-toothed manchild from the mid-west, still living with his parents. One night when hanging out with some friends, watching a porno, he discovers a shocking secret: the couple in the porno are his parents, Jeremiah (Edward Hermann) and Debbie Larson (Miriam Flynn). Feeling it’s his destiny to be a pornstar as well, Bucky leaves Iowa for Hollywood, hoping to make it big like his parents once did.
Out in Hollywood, he finds it’s harder than he imagined to become a star in the porn business. It’s not just his buck-teeth and cosmically tiny wang (the running joke throughout the film being everyone mistaking it for a vagina), but he has to compete with Dick Shadow (Stephen Dorff), the biggest name in porn at the moment. With a little help from has-been porn director Miles Deep (Don Johnson) and sweetheart waitress Kathy McGee (Christina Ricci), who Bucky has feelings for, Bucky is determined to become a star.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star is brought to you by Adam Sandler & Co. Over time, Sandler films have become a genre unto themselves, and most – if not all – have been utter crap. To put things into perspective, though, Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison are Citizen Kane compared to this film, which has the distinct honor of earning a 0% – that’s zero – on Rotten Tomatoes. Yep, that means even those blurb reviewers you see praising crappy films on DVDs like “Had me laughing ’til my gut hurt! – WKZY in Duluth” thought this film was a big, steaming pile of crap. I wouldn’t qualify this film as one of those “so bad it’s good” movies. This film is sorta like witnessing two planes collide into each other above your house. Once it flashes before your eyes, you just stand there in utter shock, thinking, “Damn… Is this really happening?”
You can go ahead and pinch yourself, but it still is.
This is another feature film from director Tom Brady. I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, #12 for the New England Patriots also directs films.” Well, no, but he’s probably just as good at it as filmmaker Brady is – hell, maybe even better. Believe it or not, Tom Brady actually studied under the great writer David Mamet, and carved out just as awesome of a filmography with such classics as The Animal, The Hot Chick, and The Comebacks. Brady and his team of writers drag out, once again, all their trademarks for this gem: poop jokes, teeny-tiny penises, jizz jokes, fifty million different masturbation phrases, crotch kicks, ass kicks, people randomly shouting obscenities, old people being involved in gross-out gags, lots of dicks, poop, poopy, poopity-poop!!!!
It must be nice getting paid a hefty paycheck to write what is essentially 120 pages worth of tiny dick jokes. Charlie Kaufman’s clearly been wasting his time.
Right from the start, this film opens up with a farmer applying peanut butter to his crotch and having his goats lick it off. Why be subtle? Just go for the viewer’s jugular at the opening credits. Next up is Bucky and his friends gathered around the TV, watching a porno, while Bucky gets a play by play on how to beat his rod while his friends stand there and watch. You know, typical friend stuff. I wouldn’t know. I did stupid, uncool stuff with my friends like go to theme parks, play basketball, watch movies and order pizza. It gets even better when Bucky realizes in awe that he was whacking it to his parents.
I’d feel a lot of things if I caught my own parents doing the deed in a porn film (or pretty much whenever): nausea, dizzy spells, blindness, shock, depression, suicidal, homicidal, schizophrenia, and an oncoming stroke. Nope, not that one. I’m referring to the medical term. Point is, awe is certainly not one of those feelings and it certainly wouldn’t make me wanna aspire to follow in their footsteps. That is, unless those footsteps are leading me off a highway bridge.
Nick Swardson has become the new generation’s Rob Schneider. This guy would be bagging groceries at a mom-and-pop shop if not for Adam Sandler. Why Sandler thought he could carry this film is a mystery ’cause I’d be hesitant to even cast him as an extra. He’s not funny. He never has been and he never will be, and the only reason I’m beating up on him this hard is ’cause he acted like a little whiny bitch after the film’s release, crying that every single critic who hammered his film didn’t understand it. What’s to get, though? His character’s got a tiny dick, buck-teeth, Amish farm boy hair, and he climaxes within seconds of being in the presence of a naked women – well, even a clothed woman too. That’s about it, but that doesn’t stop Swardson and everyone else in the film from reminding us of those four things ad nauseam. That’s about it, but that doesn’t stop Swardson and everyone else in the film from reminding us of those four things ad nauseam. That’s about it, but that doesn’t stop Swardson and everyone else in the film from reminding us of those four things ad nauseam. That’s about it, but that doesn’t stop Swardson and everyone else in the film from reminding us of those four things ad nauseam.
Yeah, it’s kinda like that.
We also get Christina Ricci as the sweetheart waitress friend of Bucky’s, who’s so sugary sweet in nature, I’m convinced she was high on uppers for the entire filming (would make sense how she got suckered into being in this), Don Johnson, who will show up in anything at this point in his career, and Kevin Nealon as Bucky’s roommate, who constantly berates Bucky for no reason other than I guess Sandler and his little buddies found it funny.
What’s most puzzling is the presence of Stephen Dorff. Just a year prior to this film, Dorff had a bit of a comeback in Sofia Coppola’s terrific Somewhere, which earned him some much deserved Oscar buzz. I can’t quite figure out what he saw in this script. There certainly can’t be enough money or alcohol in the known universe to make this film appear appealing in the slightest. I’m thinking it came down to two possibilities. One, while flipping through the number of scripts that get sent their way, Johnson, Ricci and Dorff passed on all of them but this one. Just imagine Don Johnson on the phone with Quentin Tarantino, “Yeah, Quentin, can you hold off on Django Unchained for about a year? I got something good here right now.”
Then we have the second possibility, which is Sandler, Covert and Swardson all huddled around a toilet, took a giant, messy, collective crap – the kind that makes you certain it’s imperative you see a doctor right away – called the cast in and said, “We call it Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. Are you interested?”
The latter seems the most likely.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star isn’t so bad it’s funny, but it is so bad it’s bad to the point you wonder if you’re actually having a nightmare about watching this, or are in hell. That type of bad. It’s very real, though, and if you were ever wondering if it was at all possible to stretch one unfunny joke out for the span of 90 minutes, this film will answer that question for you. If you took Boogie Nights and beat it upside the head so much you rendered it brain damaged, it’d still be better than this film.