One always wonders just how poorly the scripts Adam Sandler rejects or passes onto his friends based on the sheer volume of particularly bad films he’s made as of late. Just how bad does a script have to be before Adam Sandler will retool it for a friend of his? It has to be Bucky Larson bad, apparently, as he’s a writer & producer on the year’s worst film in Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star.
The titular Larson (Nick Swardson) is a Midwestern kid who discovers his parents (Edward Hermann, Miriam Flynn) starred in some pornography in their younger days. Moving westward to try and follow in their footsteps, Larson ends up becoming a porn star himself in a sort of mocking way. In between there’s lots of, ahem, comedy that misses on such a spectacular level that it ends up being the most singularly unfunny and unimpressive film of the year that all involved in ought to be ashamed of. And it all rests in the less than capable hands of Nick Swardson.
Swardson has garnered a reputation on the stage as a fairly successful and talented stand-up comedian, allegedly, but hasn’t been able to translate those abilities into cinema so far. Bucky is not really endearing as he is annoying as Swardson pulls out all the stops to give him traits that seem to be automatic gold. He’s remarkably stupid and has a particularly annoying speech impediment and accent, not to mention a remarkable naivety, and individually in doses they could make for a character that’s likeable. En masse they’re more annoying than endearing, making us want to mock the main character more than sympathize with him. It’s as if they took everything possible to make him an endearing character from a marketing survey and just threw it against a character, seeing if it stuck. Unfortunately it all did and what we’re given is a character designed to be sympathetic but not well written.
Bucky Larson isn’t a good character to begin with, which immediately kill the film. We can’t sympathize with him in any aspect because there’s nothing likeable; he’s not a jerk by any means but he’s a farce. There’s nothing about Bucky that screams that we want to see him succeed, etc, outside of the fact that he’s the star of the film. Swardson does try to turn this around but this is a film that’s so poorly written that nothing could’ve changed that core conceit of the script.
Everything else about the film seems to emphasize this. With a fairly solid cast for a small R-rated comedy, no one is really given all that much to do that’ intended to take away from Swardson. This is a true starring vehicle for the actor in that he has all the film’s, ahem, best lines and moments and no one else in the cast is given anything near as “good” as Swardson gets.
Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star has not gotten a positive from anyone of note and for a good reason: it’s the worst film of the year.
Director: Tom Brady Notable Cast: Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff, Kevin Nealon, Pauly Shore, Edward Hermann, Miriam Flynn Writer(s): Adam Sandler, Allen Covert, Nick Swardson
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.