Mike White's "Buck" character will someday rank amongst one of the most unforgettable cinematic stalkers. White wrote the film, which was directed by Miguel Arteta, and it shows that White knows what makes movie stalkers so creepy, endearing, and ominous; innocence. White plays the stalker of the film, a man who is unable to grow up. He's able to bring out different emotions from the audience, taking us on a roller-coaster ride that doesn't care much for slowing down.
"Chuck & Buck" is the kind of film that most of us don't necessarily love, but it leaves us in a good mood regardless. It's such a deeply unsettling, sometimes even disturbing drama that will divide audiences for its creepiness and its characters, who are all likable, or at least by the end of the film, they are. I enjoyed the story here. I also admired Arteta's direction. He seems to be the kind of director who would understand the humanity, drama, and humor contained within Mike White's screenplay, although I do believe that White deserves most of the credit for the mostly positive outcome of the film.
Buck (White) is a lonely, timid, and innocent man in his late 20's, coping with the recent loss of his dear mother. His father had left his life long ago, and Buck doesn't have anyone to turn to. He invites an old friend who he calls Chuck (Chris Weitz) to the funeral party, and to his surprise, Chuck attends. Unlike Buck, Chuck has grown up, he is successful, and he has met the love of his life. Buck is not accepting. Buck doesn't want the party to be their last time to see each-other again. So this is why he's overjoyed when Chuck offers him to visit him and his girlfriend sometime in Los Angeles. He takes them up on this offer.
Buck has a lot of money to spend, but he settles for a motel. Buck is like a child, unable to let go of childhood toys and objects, so he sets them down in the room and feels at home. He waits a while, and then goes to meet his buddy Chuck. Since Chuck is a busy man, Buck entertains himself by writing a play, which he intends on premiering at a local theater, managed by Beverly (Lupe Ontiveros), who takes an unexpected liking to him. The play is inspired by the events that lead to "Chuck" and Buck's relationship as friends, which began with a onetime summer camp. What happened at camp is heavily implied when the film is nearing its end, but I won't let the secret get out that easily.
Mike White is a very gifted writer. I sympathized for his creepy, sentimental Buck; who is an obsessive stalker of the Chuck character. The man wrote the story so that we could identify and care about Buck and only Buck. Thus, White's performance, as an actor, playing the character, is also quite wonderful. Weitz is somewhat unlikable when we're first introduced to his annoyance and nigh hatred for Buck, although this is the point. Lupe Ontiveros is also wonderful as the theater manager, who insists on being Buck's only friend. I appreciated the relationships between each character because among other things, they felt real.
"Chuck & Buck" is not a great film, but it is an undeniably good one. There are those who will love it and form a sort of cultish circle around its existence, and I can't really say that the film deserves any more or any less. There was a lot that I really liked about the movie, to the point where flaws are out of the question. I do not know why this well-written, well-directed effort is NOT perfect, because it resonates fairly well, and I was touched in the end. Perhaps it has something to do with my admiration for unforgettable shots, usage of a great soundtrack, and the like. "Chuck & Buck" is not an art film, and it does not necessarily try to be great movie, so as a film that wins as a piece of entertainment and as a piece of human insight, it's satisfying and definitely worth seeing.