Comedian Nick Swardson tried to his hand as the leading man in Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, which sees the title character gain infamy in the porn industry due to how small his pecker is. This was an Adam Sandler production, so naturally, it’s the type of film most critics have come to loathe. Not surprisingly, Bucky Larson was bombarded with negative reviews and has the rare distinction of being one of the few films that have received a 3% on rotten tomatoes. However, as covered in many of these articles, the most important thing is the box office numbers and given the fact that Bucky Larson was made for only $10 million then it should’ve made its money back with ease. However, the film bombed badly in theaters as Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star only made $2.500 million during its box office run, making it one of the worst box office wide releases of all time. So, what happened? Despite Adam Sandler never appearing in the film, his type of movies tends to do well at the box office even though critics more often than not trash his movies. Let’s take a deep dive into why Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star was a financial failure at the box office.
Nick Swardson Just Isn’t a Star
Nick Swardson is likely a very nice guy. I’m not familiar with his stand up as a comedian so I don’t particularly have an opinion on that; however, the actor is simply not a leading man. I understand what Bucky Larson is going for, a likable man-child, but he just doesn’t have the charisma or energy to carry a film on his own. At least based on his performance in Bucky Larson. Usually, it wouldn’t be fair to completely blame the actor as Swanson is performing off a script that is beyond awful. The problem is that Swardson shares writing credits with Sandler and Allen Covert so he understood the mess that he was getting into before filming began. There’s nothing wrong with sex comedies. The American Pie series, Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Zack and Miri Make A Porno, and Animal House are just some examples of the most successful and genuinely funny sex comedies.
However, none of these films focused on one joke. 40-Year-Old Virgin is about a man who’s trying to break out his shell and discover that true love is more important than one-night stands. Knocked Up is about an immature man who needed to quickly grow up and take responsibility with his life following an unplanned pregnancy. The first three American Pie movies can also be considered coming-of-age stories of a group teenagers discovering themselves during the most pivotal times of their lives. Bucky Larson is about an unattractive loser with a tiny penis. That’s it. There’s a parade of dick and ass jokes in a world stacked with obnoxious onscreen characters. There’s no personal growth for Bucky. Sure, he becomes a famous porn star and the message of the film is that people shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves; however, even that’s told in the least engaging manner possible. That’s because the sex jokes take front and center. Granted, it is a sex comedy, but the jokes are supposed to be flow naturally with the story, not the other way around. However, Swardson’s previous performances have often been seen as negatives despite him mostly playing the side character. With Swardson being the face of the film, audiences were likely turned off by the actor whose made a career based on annoying characters.
Sex Comedies isn’t The Hottest Genre in the Market
Movies like American Pie and Animal House changed the game for comedies like Groundhog Day and Back to the Future; however, the genre doesn’t exactly have a strong track record of big box office business. Part of that is due to the age restriction since they’re usually R-rated features. Of course, it’s not foreign for teenagers to see adult films, but there’s a reason why movies such as Live Free of Die Hard or Terminator Genisys went for the PG-13 rating instead. Executives wanted to capitalize on all audiences, kids, parents, and adults. In general terms, sex comedies tend to do well more often than not; however, there’s never been a sex comedy that has reached the highs of a blockbuster film like Terminator or The Avengers. There’s been rated-R comedies that went over the $500 million mark, namely both Deadpool movies, The Hangover Part II, and Ted; however, none of those are considered sex comedies. The highest remains Wedding Crashers, which grossed a little over $300 million worldwide. Nobody expected Bucky Larson to come close and match that. The point is that the genre itself isn’t the hot commodity that it once was. Rated R comedies aren’t dead, but they’re not exactly box office kings either.
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