One might not expect a sweet, funny and warm-hearted crowd-pleaser from the man who wrote movies like Sexual Roulette, Sonic Impact, and Venomous, but I guess filmmaker Sean McGinly has spent the last eleven years churning out schlock flicks just so he could get to something good. And I'm very pleased to report that his newest offering, a smoothly, strongly appealing comedy called The Great Buck Howard, is definitely the "big break" that McGinly's been working for. Backed by a fantastic performance by John Malkovich -- and some really fine work from young actors Colin Hanks and Emily Blunt -- The Great Buck Howard might be the most affectionate look back at old-school entertainment since Peter O'Toole boozed his way through My Favorite Year.
Hanks is a law student who despises law school, so (directly against his father's wishes) Troy Gable bails on higher education and lands a job as a road producer for a serious has-been of a magician. Formerly quite famous (he's been on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show over 60 times), Buck Howard is a relic of a more innocent time. Magician, mentalist, musician and comedian, Mr. Howard is "old-school entertainment" at its most sincere -- and sincerely forgotten. Troy and Buck strike up a professional friendship, although obviously their relationship is due for a few rocky moments.