I guess that because I didn't expect that much from a limited release that went on demand the day it came out, I was very surprised with how enjoyable The Great Buck Howard turned out to be. The premise is that young man named Troy (Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks who also has a role in the film) decides to try and make some money as a road show manager for a has been magician named Buck Howard (John Malkovich) while Troy's college buddies are busy becoming lawyers. Every time Buck goes to a town he exuberantly shouts about how much he loves performing shows there (Steve Zahn and Ricky Jay appear as two show managers). Of course Buck is performing to half-empty rooms and he is a total has-been. However, he has quite a level of charm and a certain energy that only Malkovich could bring about when he tries to hypnotize or read the minds of other people. As Troy starts to take note of how damn good Buck actually is and just when it seems like Buck is going to flicker out and die, he suddenly puts a mass crowd to sleep with the snap of a finger. The performer is suddenly back in the spotlight (returning to his late night talk show interviews) and it turns into charming little story about all of the life lessons Buck can teach Troy as well as Troy's budding romance with sexy publicist (Emily Blunt).
The film received mixed reviews but I have to agree with the positive ones. This is one of Malkovich's better roles and one can't help but sit back and be enchanted by the magician and this quirky tale about show business.