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When a law school dropout answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime. Written by
The character of "Troy Gabel" is based on director Sean McGinly's experiences as road manager for The Amazing Kreskin, on which The Great Buck Howard is loosely based. See more »
The scene with the mass hypnosis, supposedly in Cincinnatti, is clearly in the main lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles. The banner with Placedo Domingo's name is even clearly seen hanging outside. See more »
This could be the story about so many "B" level celebrities, and is based on the life story of the "Amazing Kresken," The Great Buck Howard tells us that once you enter the field of entertainment, you might do anything to stay on top.
Buck Howard (played wonderfully cheesy by John Malkovich) is a "mentalist" who was popular on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," appearing 61 times. He is a classic 70s Vegas magician, doing fascinating tricks and metal feats of amazement. In all, he is a relic of decades past, entertainment without special effects and he still seems to think he is on top of the entertainment world.
Howard's career has has hit near the bottom, performing in such hotbeds as Bakersfield, CA and Akron, OH in front of partially filled small auditoriums. Still, he see's himself as a big time entertainer that is just not getting the break he needs to get back on top (much of which he blames on Jay Leno), in many ways he is a sad individual and does not get that the only people who enjoy him are almost as sad as him.
The story is told through the eyes of his traveling secretary, played by Colin Hanks, who is, himself, struggling with issues. He is battling his desires to become famous with his fathers (played by his real dad Tom Hanks)wish he become a lawyer. since he has no real talent (other than writing)he is breaking into entertainment the only way he sees possible.
This is a charming film, not something for those looking for action, a major love story (a minor one occurs between Colin and the beautiful Emily Blunt (best known as the 1st assistant in The Devil Wears Prada), or some major personal victory, although in the end, Howard does find what makes him happy.
This is a movie that likely describes the life of many "B" entertainers that are seeking to stay in a limelight that has moved away from them. it is simple and enjoyable.
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