Chuck and Buck
Coughing her last breath, Buck's mother releases him from childhood, which has lasted well into his 20s. He invites his boyhood friend Chuck, a Los Angeles music executive, with his girlfriend Carlyn (Colt) to the funeral. Buck grins at Chuck, "You wanna see my room?" setting the movie's tone. Chuck finds himself stalked by a weirdo who still wants to be his junior-high buddy.
Buck (White, the film's author) stands too close, doesn't stop talking, and never knows he's unwelcome. He's had only one relationship he valued - with Chuck (Weitz); he assumes it's mutual. "I notice there aren't any pictures of me around," Buck says on his first visit to Chuck's home.
How did he get invited there? At the funeral, Carlyn unwisely asked him to, whenever he visits L.A.; a few days later, he's there. Meeting Chuck at his office, Buck tails him to lunch, sucking on Tootsie Pops. Chuck bluntly tells him to get lost. but it's not so easy.
Freed from long captivity with his mother, Buck finds much in Los Angeles to interest him. He finds a little fringe theater, writes an autobiography, "Frank & Hank," and gets Beverly, the stage manager (Ontiveros), to direct it. Buck could be a comic figure, surrounded by caricatures, but the movie shows people as real as they might actually be, and who deal with Buck as people actually might.
Beverly sizes up Buck for one of the flakes who encircle theaters; she agrees to direct his play for $25 an hour, and guarantees a single performance. One actress, finishing a rehearsal, flatly declares, "I'm not inviting my agent." A clueless actor, Sam (Weitz, Chris' brother), takes his part seriously, and asks Buck to his apartment. His neighbor "won't let me hold parties in the hall"; Sam thinks Buck would make a great neighbor, since he won't object to parties.
The supporting characters make "Chuck & Buck" more than just a stalker movie. By treating Buck as people really might, they let us see him as what he really is -- a sad, strange person. That sets up the entire movie, which wouldn't otherwise work.
Most people operate in a set of conventions and instincts that lead us through conversations and relationships, and know precisely how to relate to each other, as our behavior reflects. Some people, either ignorant or hostile, don't observe the rules. How should we handle them? This movie genuinely explores those issues.
Mike White, Chris Weitz, Lupe Ontiveros, Beth Colt, Paul Weitz
Arrested development; stalker
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