Colin Hanks plays Troy Gable, a recent graduate in journalism, who is searching for a job when he comes across a Magician’s Apprenticeship position in the local paper. Troy attends the interview for the position at a local diner, where he meets and is struck by the Great Buck Howard (John Malkovitch), a waning magician. Although skeptical of Buck and desperate for a job, he is convinced that helping Buck will be an exciting change from his ordinarily mundane life. From city to city, Buck always impresses the small town crowds, which is seemingly the motive for his continuing career. After learning the ropes, Troy continually runs through the motions of Buck’s routine and alcoholic personality. After Troy tires of the repetition, Buck attempts an overwhelming magic spectacle to regain his long forgotten legacy. In the process, Troy finds the love of his life and proceeds to break Buck’s golden rules. After the ensuing drama with Buck and his dad (Tom Hanks), Troy continues along his path with Buck, against his father’s wishes. Buck then starts a Vegas magician life, which he soon scraps with an intentional faux pas in his routine. He has a revelation that he only wants to demonstrate his magic to the people who genuinely care about his routine. Meanwhile, while Buck remembers his calling, Troy discovers how to demonstrate his compassion towards his recently discovered soulmate. In turn, Buck relinquishes his dream of a glorious Vegas lifestyle and Troy foregoes his show biz lifestyle to live what he considers a better life with his soulmate.
“The Great Buck Howard” is the first big screen movie to star both father and son Hanks.
“The Great Buck Howard” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2008.