Film Therapy 

Chuck & Buck Expose Your Demented Little World

SO DIRECTOR MIQUEL ARTETA made Chuck & Buck with a digital camera, and Chris Weitz (Chuck) is a pretty bad actor. But regardless of a little technical roughness, this film has a thematic center of solid gold.

That is, Chuck & Buck does what any good piece of literature, film, or art does: it forces viewers to question their own lives--distills the essential elements of this story into a secret questionnaire administered to the most honest places in your mind: How much am I like these characters, and to what extent am I guilty of these social crimes?

We begin on this soul search with Chuck and Buck (Mike White), two white suburban kids who played normal kids' games: hide-and-seek, "let's pretend to be grown ups," and, of course, experimenting with sex and gender roles. And just as you realize that you played all those games too, Arteta hits you with the fact that these "normal" childhoods generated two really fucked up adults. Buck, for example, never outgrew his childhood mentality; he's a little kid trapped in big kid desires. He's sexually frustrated but he still wants to play house. Buck doesn't really understand all this, so he tells himself that he wants Chuck's bootybad.

When Buck starts stalking Chuck, at first you think Chuck is the normal, well-adjusted individual, the one who grew into a healthy, suburban gent. But when you compare the two, it dawns on you: Chuck is just as fucked up as Buck! In fact, he's even more fucked up, since he is deep in the heart of a community of people who share his warped view of the world.

And that, my friend, is where you come in. Chuck's not an "abnormal" person: He's married and employed, not a drug addict, a murderer, or a pimp. But his life is full of fake expectations and fantasies, as is Buck's. It's just that Chuck has found a group of people who play the game with him, where money and power are the only forces to be followed. They're forces that make you look around, take inventory on your life, and say, "Man. This is really fucked up."

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