Chuck & Buck Review

Jul 13, 2000 | 8:00pm EDT

Nerdy emotionally underdeveloped Buck (Mike White) and music biz yuppie Charlie (Chris Weitz) were best friends in their youth but they haven't seen each other in years when they meet at the funeral of Buck's mother. Incorrectly assuming that their relationship will pick up where it left off the jealous-minded obsessive Buck trails Charlie back to L.A. doing his best to lodge himself between his weirded-out old pal and Charlie's more understanding fiancee (Beth Colt). In the process we learn exactly how intimate "Chuck" and Buck were as lads.

The decision to cast filmmakers with little acting experience in several key roles is a gamble that doesn't exactly pay off. White a TV writer-producer who also penned "Chuck & Buck's" screenplay is an engagingly offbeat unnerving presence as Buck but he doesn't have the chops to keep building the performance over a 95-minute film. "American Pie" producer Weitz is stiff and unnatural as Chuck. His brother and directing partner Paul Weitz is better as a meathead actor Buck hires for a small play he produces.

Miguel Arteta ("Star Maps") shot his ultra-cheapie second feature on digital video and the crude results are little better than a home movie. Arteta and White manage to save the project however with their surprisingly dark view of Buck who gets more and more interesting as he gleefully subverts the contemporary Hollywood stereotype of geeks/gay men as the noble victims of macho abuse.

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