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Despite all Sundance and critical fanfare to the contrary, this intriguing indie hit is hardly an easily digested little winner. Miguel Arteta's film is more than a bit unsettling, and scene after scene plays with intense discomfort. After the death of his mother, strangely juvenile 27-year-old Buck (Mike White) heads off to L.A. with the oblivious, obsessive intent of working his way back into the life of childhood pal Chuck (Chris Weitz), with whom he'd sexually experimented as a boy. Chuck's engaged now, which only serves to increase Buck's determination ("When it's just you and me here, it's like I'm OK," he says. "And all this other stuff makes me feel dead."). Arteta and screenwriter White (who's quite good as Buck) stretch credibility more than once--Buck's troubling emotional state is sketchy, to say the least--and some of their humor is too smirkingly ironic for its own good, but the film's edgy sadness keeps poking at you. Whatever its flaws, there's something compelling here about the fear of growing up and the more unnerving dread of being found out

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Special Features * Making of * Deleted Footage * The Games We Used to Play

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ARSN11356 Chuck & Buck DVD (2000/Mike White) $14.98