A man with buck teeth and an improbable innocence wants to follow in his parents’ footsteps and be a porn star in Bucky Larson: Born to Be A Star, a death march of a comedy that reminds you why those 1990s Saturday Night Live spin-off movies were so bad.
And I’m not just saying that because Kevin Nealon, who has been a party to some painful comedy over the years, appears here. His presence does, however, put the rotten cherry on this rancid retro sundae.
Bucky (Nick Swardson) is a good-hearted man-boy of indeterminate age who lives with his parents and works as a bag boy at a supermarket in a small town in Iowa. When he loses his job, a toothless shopper tells him not to worry, he’ll find his destiny.
As it happens, he finds his destiny while watching hairy 1970s porn with a few of his not-quite-as-sheltered but still dorky friends. He realizes that the people he’s watching get it on are in fact his parents and that they were once major porn stars. After discussing things with his mom (Miriam Flynn) and dad (Edward Herrmann), he decides to hop a bus and head to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a star.
Once he gets there, he’s not quite sure how to go about breaking in to this particular part of the movie business. After a trip to an adult video store gets him nowhere, he heads to a diner with the word “Famous” in its name. The diner mostly just introduces him to some horrible food but it also allows him to meet the waitress, Kathy (Christina Ricci), herself unnaturally sweet-hearted. She takes pity on Bucky, particularly when she finds out his plan for the evening is to camp out in some shrubs in the diner’s parking lot, and helps him rent a room with her neighbor Gary (Nealon). Bucky even finds an audition — for a mac & cheese commercial, which is not the same thing as porn, something he doesn’t realize right away.
The director does know some of the players in the porn world — and has heard of Bucky’s parents — and eventually Bucky meets a director named Miles (Don Johnson) who gives Bucky a chance. As it turns out, Bucky may have big teeth and a big heart but he is not so well-endowed elsewhere. Miles is ready to turn his back on Bucky, but then Miles learns that his audition tape has earned him much Internet fame. Turns out, the ladies are much more appreciative of their boyfriends’ attributes after comparing them to Bucky’s.
So, just like I can’t tell you the last name of Johnson’s character or the name of a rival actor played by Stephen Dorff, I can’t completely describe a lot of the various sight gags, most of them repeated over and over, that make up this movie. And that’s probably for the best — you really don’t want to know and I don’t want to have to relive it. Suffice it to say that if there is a juvenile weenie joke that can be made, this movie probably makes it and makes it over and over, like a little kid who keeps repeating the punch line — “get it? ‘orange you glad I didn’t say banana’ get it?” — until you feel like you are being bludgeoned with these jokes. It’s a comic styling very reminiscent of the Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo school of humor. You want to pull your legs up and wrap your arms around your head so that you can protect your face and torso from the unrelenting assault of clumsy, blunt chunks of alleged humor. F
Rated R for pervasive crude sexual content, language and some nudity. Directed by Tom Brady and written by Adam Sandler, Allen Covert and Nick Swardson, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star is an hour and 36 minutes long and distributed by Sony.