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The Great Buck Howard (2008)

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2:37 | Trailer

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A young man, much to the chagrin of his father, becomes the new assistant to an illusionist in decline.

Director:

Sean McGinly

Writer:

Sean McGinly
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Malkovich ... Buck Howard
Colin Hanks ... Troy Gable
Emily Blunt ... Valerie Brennan
Ricky Jay ... Gil Bellamy
Steve Zahn ... Kenny
Tom Hanks ... Mr. Gable
Griffin Dunne ... Jonathan Finerman
Debra Monk ... Doreen
Adam Scott ... Alan Berkman
Patrick Fischler ... Michael Perry
Wallace Langham ... Dan Green
Jonathan Ames ... Edward Kelly
Jacquie Barnbrook ... Sheila Heller
Paul Darricarrere Paul Darricarrere ... Restaurant Manager
Terry Scannell Terry Scannell ... Kip
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Greatness is a state of mind. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some language including suggestive remarks, and a drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Mente que Mente See more »

Filming Locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$115,004, 22 March 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$748,363, 5 July 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Las Vegas scene was filmed in Hollywood on the same set that was used for the Palace Hotel Ballroom scene in The Blues Brothers (1980). See more »

Goofs

While Buck and Troy are being driven around Cincinnati, you can see palm trees out the back and side windows of the limo. See more »

Quotes

Buck Howard: Troy you can bring that, and... toss my salad when you get back to the hotel.
See more »

Connections

Features The Daily Show (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Telling the Truth and Going Away
Written, Produced and Performed by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Malkovich has rarely been better
10 October 2009 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

"The Great Buck Howard" is a near-perfect faux biopic that will have you grinning from ear to ear for ninety euphoric minutes. John Malkovich plays the title character, an ego-driven mentalist loosely based on the Amazing Kreskin. We're told that Buck had the moniker "Great" bestowed on him by none other than the late Johnny Carson himself after the magician appeared on the Tonight Show sixty-one times in the heyday of his career. The humorously named Troy Gable (Colin Hanks) is the law student (and narrator of the tale) who takes a pass on a promising career as an attorney to serve as Buck's road manager, a move that causes great consternation for the young man's father, nicely played in a cameo appearance by Colin's real-life dad, Tom Hanks.

Part inveterate con man, part grandiose showman and part purveyor of down home wisdom and folksiness, Buck Howard turns out to be the perfect instructor for a young man eager to become wise in the ways of human nature. Howard is what P.T. Barnum would have been had he been reduced to playing smaller venues, an entertainer par excellence who really knows how to work his audience for ego-gratification and profit - in short, a figure as uniquely American as the lone frontiersman or trailblazing entrepreneur. Howard probably believes only half of what he's selling, but it is that half that keeps him going in the face of declining popularity and ever-dwindling crowds. For Howard is just shy of turning into a has-been when, as if by magic, he finds himself unexpectedly mounting a full court media comeback.

A satirical and affectionate paean to the world of show biz and the bizarre creatures that inhabit it, "The Great Buck Howard" boasts a witty, flavorful script and stylish direction by the multi-talented Sean McGinly. The movie also features a lovely performance by Emily Blunt as a publicist and Troy's potential love interest, while a number of well known celebrities - John Stewart, Regis and Kathy Lee (or is it Kelly?), Conan O'Brien, George Takei and Tom Arnold among them - make brief appearances as themselves.

But it is Malkovich who grabs the material by the horns and runs with it. With his every gesture and facial expression, Malkovich turns the Great Buck Howard into a savvy combination of egotism, bravado, humility and pathos. One minute he's an impossible slave-driver, the next a paternalistic mentor - one minute a clear-eyed pragmatist, the next a dewy-eyed visionary and sentimentalist. It is Malkovich's ability to seamlessly meld all these contradictory traits into an instantly recognizable and utterly lovable character that ultimately makes "The Great Buck Howard" the richly entertaining experience it is.


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