May 13, 2014
Virtually everyone has had a friend or two during childhood who grew up to be something they never expected. Indeed, I had friends as a kid who went on to become felons (i.e. armed robbery, kidnappings), the proud progenitors of bastard mulatto children, green berets, suicide and overdose cases, and dope dealers, among other things. In the decidedly deranged ‘dramedy’ Chuck & Buck (2000) directed by Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt, Cedar Rapids), a somewhat successful yet rather vapid yuppy record company executive in his late-20s is in for quite a surprise when his now gay and quasi-autistic childhood best friend reappears in his life and turns his and his fiancée’s sterile little world of bourgeois creature comfort's into a living hell of sorts with his considerably creepy and obscenely obsessive behavior. While advertised as a sort of quirky offbeat comedy that hipsters might assume is some sort of mundane mumblecore garbage, Chuck & Buck is actually a genuinely unnerving and even unhinged work that will almost certainly induce discomfort in all viewers to varying degrees, except maybe NAMBLA members. Undoubtedly, what makes the film even stranger is that it stars the Hollywood Hebraic hack director/producer Chris Weitz (co-producer/co-directer of American Pie and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, among other soulless celluloid swill) in his debut acting role and gay actor/writer Mike White (who, on top of writing for Dawson's Creek, is the son of gay ‘reverend doctor’ Mel White, who used to ghostwrite for Jerry Falwell). Indeed, Chuck & Buck could not have more radically repellant leads whose personal backgrounds represent everything that is appalling about America, which only all the more accents the aberrosexual essence of the film. Undoubtedly, it is not a film that I can say I like by any means, yet it is also undeniably unforgettable, sort of like being flashed by an old homeless man or seeing a lone turd laying in the middle of a public bathroom floor. In fact, I would go so far as saying that Chuck & Buck is a work of spiritual molestation that utilizes comedy as a means to make the depravity of it all easier to swallow, just like how American Pie uses infantile humor to make it seem somewhat tolerable for the viewer to see some effete Jewish dork having sex with a Nordic chick. Seeming like it was directed by a poor man’s Todd Solondz (or a homo Terry Zwigoff) and written by a perverted man-child who got molested as a child and enjoyed it, the film, if nothing else, seems like an endurance test to see how much degeneracy American filmgoers are willing to tolerate if quirky humor is involved. An unflatteringly unique tale about ugly people doing ugly things, as well as a look at the more odious side of obsession, Chuck & Buck is like the autobiographical film Spielberg always wanted to make but lacked the gall and sense of humor to do so, as a manchild that many believe has Asperger syndrome who incessantly makes films about children featuring an intolerably childlike sentimentality and a number disturbing gratuitous shots of little boys.
Opening with a scene of grotesque 27-year-old man-child Buck O'Brien (played by Mike White, who looks at least a decade older than his character, even if he does somewhat resemble a fetus) sitting in his room, which is full of Charms Blow Pops and his childhood toys, Chuck & Buck immediately establishes an aesthetically autistic tone as a film about a spastic and quasi-autistic dork who has an unhealthy obsession with his childhood best friend. When Buck’s terminally ill mother (Pamela Gordon) kicks the bucket, it proves to be quite an exciting experience for him as his childhood best friend who he has not seen since he was 11, Chuck (Chris Weitz), is attending the funeral. Upon meeting Buck for the first time in some 16 years, Chuck, who is now a somewhat successful record company executive who lives in LA and drives a BMW, remarks how he has not changed at all, which is certainly an understatement. Before Chuck knows is it, Buck intentionally walks in on him while he is in the bathroom and grabs his ass. Needless to say, Chuck takes his fiancée Beth (Carlyn Carlson) and heads back to LA immediately. Of course, Buck decides to plan to go visit Chuck, but when he gets blown off, he opts for going all the way for his great love and moves to LA after taking out $10,000 of his assumed inheritance. Immediately upon arriving in LA, Buck begins stalking Chuck, even pretending to be a delivery man so he can sneak into his friend’s office. Chuck reluctantly humors Buck’s bizarre obsessive behavior for a while, but when the weasel-like weirdo arrives at his house one night unexpectedly and says he wants to play a game that they used to play together as kids, stating, “like one of those games where you stick your dick in my mouth and I stick mine in yours. ‘Chuck & Buck, Suck & Fuck’,” the record executive naturally throws him out for good. Meanwhile, Buck begins working on an autobiographical fairytale play inspired by The Wizard of Oz entitled ‘Frank and Hank’ in the hope that if Chuck sees it, he will realize how much he loves him and ditch his fiancée. Buck pays a theater manager named Beverly Franco (Lupe Ontiveros), whose obesity is only transcended by her bitchiness, to help him cast and direct the play, which she describes as being “a homoerotic misogynistic play,” telling its writer, “I don’t think this is a child’s play…Its way out there. I think you have something weird about women. I think you have something weird about men.” Being a complete social retard, Buck does not understand why Beverly describes his play as homoerotic. Against Beverly’s better judgment, Buck decides to cast a goofy Guido of the sexually dubious sort from New Jersey named Sam (played by Paul Weitz, the older brother of Chris) because he has the hots for the guy since he looks a little like Chuck, but also has a warped mentality that the playwright can relate to (indeed, in one scene, Sam remarks to Buck regarding old bitch Beverly, “I think she wishes she had a cock [...] I wonder what her twat looks like. You ever wonder that? It’s like sometimes she’ll be talking to me and all I can think is, ‘What does your twat look like? Why don’t you show me you fucking bitch.’ Yeah, I’m twisted. I got problems. I know I do.”). Ultimately, after much stalking and whatnot from Buck, Chuck and his fiancée decide to go to the play. Needless to say, both Chuck and Beth (who is portrayed in the play as a witch) are disgusted with the play, with the latter finally realizing her hubby-to-be used to hump Buck when he was a kid. Of course, Buck continues to annoy Chuck, so when the former offers the latter to get out of his life for good if he agrees to ‘sleep with him’ for one night, he absurdly agrees. Indeed, Chuck fucks Buck in what is easily one of the creepiest scenarios in film history, even though it is mainly only implied. In the end, Buck finally accepts rejection and ultimately finds solace in hanging out with dumbass dago Sam (whose prick he tries to grab at one point) and being a semi-professional playwright. In an ending that is just as ridiculous as the rest of the film, Chuck and Beth invite Buck to their wedding, which he gladly attends and even manages not to get jealous when he sees his lifelong love kiss the bride.
One element of Chuck & Buck that seemed rather on point is that it portrays molestation victims as people that never seem to grow up, at least beyond the age when they were molested, as if they are still stuck in the same period when they were defiled and cannot progress past that point. Indeed, throughout the film, Buck makes accusations against Chuck like “You put that curse on me,” thus highlighting the fact that even he feels that his childhood friend is to blame for his debilitating mental and sexual immaturity. Of course, the film also seems like a limp-wristed assault against heterosexual men, making it seem as if all boys experiment with blowing other boys as some sort of natural rite of passage and are in denial of it when they get older in life. In the end, I found both characters to be innately irritating and totally unsympathetic as two different extremes of American middleclass life: the infantile manchild that never grows up and the psychopathic office boss whose main concerns are appearances, especially regarding what car he drives and what kind of suit he plans to wear to work. When it comes down to it, both characters are emotionally retarded, with Buck being a hysterical neurotic with the social skills of a toddler and Chuck being a fraud who is all about appearances and has no real friends, with his fiancée Beth even seeming like an investment of sorts. Of course, Beth is nothing but a phony bourgeois whore herself who, like her friends, merely projects an image, but has no real personality, convictions, or beliefs. In one especially telling scene, someone compliments Beth on the West Indian decorations she has around her house and she responds by stating, “Thank you! God, I was afraid people were going to think they were racist…my decorator pushed me into it,” thus demonstrating her obsession with superficial images and appearances, not to mention her complete and utter lack of individuality/personality to the point where she actually pays someone to design the look of her house. Featuring a childlike song by Gwendolyn Sanford entitled “Freedom of the Heart” that really highlights the quasi-pedo persuasion of the film (Buck may not molest a kid, but it certainly seems like his next logical step in life, especially considering at one point in the film he even allows a kid to lick his used saliva-drenched Blow Pop) and minimalistic ‘indy’ aesthetic that would make hipsters wet their panties were the film not so creepy, Chuck & Buck is arguably one of the most subtle pieces of celluloid aesthetic terrorism ever made, as the sort of film one might expect to have been directed by Woody Allen’s long lost bastard son.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 11:16 PM
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