When his mother dies, Buck (White)--who's 29 going on 12--tracks down his childhood friend Chuck (Chris Weitz) and invites him to the funeral, hoping to rekindle their friendship so he won't have to grow up. But Chuck is now a successful L.A. music exec with a fiancee (Cort). And when Buck suggests that they renew their teenage sexual experimentation, Chuck gets out of there quick. So Buck, naturally, heads to L.A., where he tries everything he can think of to get Chuck's attention, including producing a play about the two of them (called "Hank & Frank").
Yes, the film dares to tackle some rather taboo subjects ... and it does so in an open, honest, funny and often rather frightening way. Buck is a sort of idiot savant like Rain Man or Forrest Gump, but he's not nearly as naive or innocent as either of those. And as written and played by White he's also surprisingly likeable. We root for him to sort himself out! The Weitz brothers (who produced and directed American Pie, of all things), deliver startling, revelatory performances. Chris is a bundle of nerves as he tries to fend off his dear old friend and avoid this trip down memory lane; while Paul is terrific as the actor Buck hires to play Chuck in his play--a very bad actor with a mind-bogglingly simplistic worldview. And Ontiveros gives superb support as an overlooked woman finally given the chance to really shine as the director of Buck's play. Arteta's direction is clever and very subtle, using DV to superb effect to capture the real-life edginess of the people and situations. But his real trick is to keep us laughing throughout the story's gentle, warm-hearted, profoundly honest storyline.
[15--strong adult themes and situations, language] 13.Oct.00
US release 14.Jul.00; UK release 10.Nov.00
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