The Great Buck Howard
Directed by Sean McGinly
A once-hot mentalist struggles to become relevant again.
The Great Buck Howard is a “wee charmer that left me enchanted,” said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. In this nicely understated comedy, John Malkovich plays Buck Howard, a once famous mentalist who tries to wow America again and regain his fame. Loosely inspired by the Amazing Kreskin’s life story, the film embraces a love for “kitsch, the backwaters of showbiz, and true magic.” Director Sean McGinly “gives the loopy Malkovich the showcase he deserves.” But he never lets the actor—or the film—reach full potential, said Dan Zak in The Washington Post. The story has all the makings of “biting satire,” and Malkovich has the canniness needed to pull that off. But McGinly settles for a cheery, sentimental comedy rather than a “darker, more madcap” account of the entertainment industry. The film does have a “serious side,” said Duane Byrge in The Hollywood Reporter. McGinly’s point isn’t so much about the nature of showbiz as it is about the “notion that there is still magic in this world.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
Subscribe to the Week