The Great Buck Howard - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Great Buck Howard Reviews

Top Critic
Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Leo Goldsmith
indieWIRE
August 8, 2009
Malkovich's titular mentalist is the primary focus of attention%u2014and sadly the source of many of the film's unique problems. In a career of strange performances, Malkovich turns in a true curiosity here%u2014and maybe it's because he is not, for once,
Top Critic
April 9, 2009
This is not a rare movie, but it does have a warm red center. It's likable, and its appeal grows as it recovers from a shaky start and finds its footing.
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
April 8, 2009
A pleasant enough comedy in the My Favorite Year mold.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
April 3, 2009
A modest snapshot of a performer.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
April 2, 2009
The film feels painfully thin.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 27, 2009
Buck Howard is Malkovich's show. When's he's off the screen, the film sputters, but while he's on-camera, it's magical.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
March 23, 2009
The movie, which was written and directed by Sean McGinly, is consistently good as long as it centers on Buck and his seriocomic travails.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
March 21, 2009
To their credit, Malkovich and McGinly never make sentimentality easy--when Buck's career starts picking up, the first thing he does is get a facelift.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 20, 2009
Just as in Burn After Reading, the craftsman's pursuit of character, warts and vulnerability intact, is adamant. He makes it hard to pass up this Buck.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
March 20, 2009
Malkovich keeps Buck an enigma -- part fool, part unheralded genius -- and if the film moves in expected ways it also hits some subtle grace notes.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
March 20, 2009
What Malkovich really needs are actors opposite him with a few more tricks up their sleeve.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 20, 2009
The film is a small-scale charmer that provides a tailor-made role for Malkovich, who is always fun to watch.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
March 20, 2009
[Director] McGinly, working with a modest budget, balances the film's sense of mockery with its more somber moments and doesn't allow the story's considerable nostalgia and sentimentality to overwhelm it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Dan Zak
Washington Post
March 20, 2009
Under the direction of, say, Alexander Payne or David O. Russell, Malkovich might have flourished in a deeper, darker, more madcap version of the film.
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
March 20, 2009
Writer-director Sean McGinley based his title character on the Amazing Kreskin, and it provides a suitable mainstream vehicle for Malkovich's bruised aloofness.
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
March 20, 2009
The Great Buck Howard is an agreeable show business satire with a warm heart.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
March 20, 2009
Any synopsis of The Great Buck Howard is going to make it sound more than a little like My Favorite Year. ... But that film had a compellingly poignant center.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Top Critic
Jeff Shannon
Seattle Times
March 19, 2009
Like the has-been it celebrates, this gentle comedy wears out its welcome by embracing mediocrity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 19, 2009
It sidesteps ultra-saccharine territory, emerging as sweetly nostalgic and gently satiric, if lightweight, entertainment.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
March 19, 2009
When an actor finds the perfect role, a rare sort of magic happens. And you can find it onscreen right now, in The Great Buck Howard.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 19, 2009
Malkovich, mixing the magician shtick with a dogged resiliency, a dab of pathos, and more than a bit of mystery (did he really just hypnotize 300 people?), is simply a joy to watch.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
March 19, 2009
Malkovich refuses to make his arrogant, prickly has-been remotely likeable, but the movie isn't as uncompromising as his performance, which gets drowned in a sea of schmaltz.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
March 19, 2009
It's the movie equivalent of handing us a business card.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 19, 2009
The Great Buck Howard is cheekily observant about celebrity self-importance while still conveying Buck's commitment to entertaining regular folks.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 19, 2009
The film is funny and perceptive in the way it shows the humiliations for a man with Buck's tender vanity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
March 19, 2009
No one does raging unlovability quite like John Malkovich, who's a total gas when he drops the bombast that often bogs down his more serious roles.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 18, 2009
The Great Buck Howard is in love with kitsch, the backwaters of showbiz, and true magic. It's 
a wee charmer that left me enchanted.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
March 16, 2009
The cast is speckled with lively souls like Steve Zahn and Griffin Dunne, but the only person who wakes the movie from its slumbers is Emily Blunt.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 16, 2009
Despite the presence of some A-list performers, The Great Buck Howard can't shake the feeling that it's more on the level of made-for-TV than something destined for theatrical greatness.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
March 9, 2009
I really enjoyed this film.
Top Critic
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
March 9, 2009
A sweet, tender, slightly satirical slice of the showbiz life.
Top Critic
Justin Chang
Variety
January 22, 2008
Pic succeeds to an impressive degree.