The Great Buck Howard

June 5th, 2009


more trailers The Great Buck Howard

Still of Griffin Dunne and Colin Hanks in The Great Buck HowardStill of Tom Hanks and Colin Hanks in The Great Buck HowardTom Hanks and Colin Hanks at event of The Great Buck HowardStill of Colin Hanks in The Great Buck HowardStill of John Malkovich in The Great Buck HowardStill of John Malkovich, Colin Hanks and Ricky Jay in The Great Buck Howard

A young man, much to the chagrin of his father, becomes the new assistant to an illusionist in decline.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 6.6/10 (7,193 voted)

Critic's Score: 63/100

Director: Sean McGinly

Stars: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Tom Hanks

When a law school dropout answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime.

John Malkovich - Buck Howard
Colin Hanks - Troy Gable
Emily Blunt - Valerie Brennan
Ricky Jay - Gil Bellamy
Steve Zahn - Kenny
Tom Hanks - Mr. Gable
Griffin Dunne - Johnathan Finerman
Debra Monk - Doreen
Adam Scott - Alan Berkman
Patrick Fischler - Michael Perry
Wallace Langham - Dan Green
Jonathan Ames - Edward Kelly
Jacquie Barnbrook - Sheila Heller
Paul Darricarrere - Restaurant Manager
Terry Scannell - Kip

Taglines: Greatness is a state of mind.


Official Website: Official site [France] | Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 5 June 2009

Filming Locations: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Opening Weekend: $115,004 (USA) (22 March 2009) (55 Screens)

Gross: $748,363 (USA) (5 July 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Kevin Kline was originally going to play Buck Howard. Colin Hanks stated this in an interview at the premiere of Zathura: A Space Adventure.

Errors in geography: The scene with the mass hypnosis, supposedly in Cincinnatti, is clearly in the main lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles. The banner with Placedo Domingo's name is even clearly seen hanging outside.

Troy Gable: Dad, what are you doing here?
Mr. Gable: I was gonna ask you the same question.

User Review

Enjoyable story about "B" celebs

Rating: 8/10

This could be the story about so many "B" level celebrities, and is based on the life story of the "Amazing Kresken," The Great Buck Howard tells us that once you enter the field of entertainment, you might do anything to stay on top.

Buck Howard (played wonderfully cheesy by John Malkovich) is a "mentalist" who was popular on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," appearing 61 times. He is a classic 70s Vegas magician, doing fascinating tricks and metal feats of amazement. In all, he is a relic of decades past, entertainment without special effects and he still seems to think he is on top of the entertainment world.

Howard's career has has hit near the bottom, performing in such hotbeds as Bakersfield, CA and Akron, OH in front of partially filled small auditoriums. Still, he see's himself as a big time entertainer that is just not getting the break he needs to get back on top (much of which he blames on Jay Leno), in many ways he is a sad individual and does not get that the only people who enjoy him are almost as sad as him.

The story is told through the eyes of his traveling secretary, played by Colin Hanks, who is, himself, struggling with issues. He is battling his desires to become famous with his fathers (played by his real dad Tom Hanks)wish he become a lawyer. since he has no real talent (other than writing)he is breaking into entertainment the only way he sees possible.

This is a charming film, not something for those looking for action, a major love story (a minor one occurs between Colin and the beautiful Emily Blunt (best known as the 1st assistant in The Devil Wears Prada), or some major personal victory, although in the end, Howard does find what makes him happy.

This is a movie that likely describes the life of many "B" entertainers that are seeking to stay in a limelight that has moved away from them. it is simple and enjoyable.