Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young man on his way up hitches his wagon to a middle-aged star on his way down in a comedy from writer and director Sean McGinly. Troy Gable (Colin Hanks) is a guy in his early twenties who has dropped out of law school and is pondering his next move. Troy has an interest in working in the entertainment business, and when he learns that a "celebrity performer" is looking for a personal assistant, Troy thinks he's found the ideal entry-level position. Troy soon discovers he's landed a job as a glorified gofer for Buck Howard (John Malkovich), a once-famous mentalist who appeared on The Tonight Show 61 times during Johnny Carson's reign as host. However, Howard hasn't been doing much lately, and he's hired Troy and new publicist Valerie (Emily Blunt) as he grooms himself for a comeback. While Troy is fascinated with Howard's creaky but still effective act, his boss has enough personal quirks and absurd demands to give anyone second thoughts about working with him for long. One thing that keeps Troy on the road with Buck is Valerie, who wastes no time in showing her sexual interest in him; however, Valerie is also the only one who harbors no illusions about Howard's prospects for a return to fame, and she isn't afraid to tell him about it. The Great Buck Howard also features Tom Hanks as Troy's father; as it happens, he's also Colin Hanks' real life dad.
magician [performer], mentor