on February 20, 2012
I'll give him this: Tucker entertains. His stories are for the most part well written, and his third book is a fun and easy, albeit frivolous read. As usual, a good chunk of the book is just emails to and from his friends, some dating back years. That, coupled with multiple pages dedicated to his "sexting" with his core fan base, i.e. immature and insecure teenage girls, sort of undermines his claim of being a prolific writer.
Tucker is at his best when he writes about his friends' various idiosyncrasies. The chapter about his friend Hate was by far the funniest, containing some exemplary wit.
He is absolutely at his worst when he gives life advice. The "wisdom" he imparts is shallow, hackneyed, and hardly conducive to forming good character. At one point in the book, he suggests that kids shouldn't listen to anything their parents say, that they should just follow their own rules and the hell with the norm. So, when your dad preaches the importance of virtues such as loyalty, honor, fortitude, and honesty, just ignore the old man. Very rebellious, Tucker! This is painfully cliched and unenlightened advice.
By far the most disturbing chapter is on Miss Vermont.
It reveals a vindictive, pathologically narcissistic, and petty side of Tucker. He takes extreme pride in destroying a young, innocent girl for absolutely no good reason. He comes off as border-line sadistic in challenging Miss Vermont to write her version of events. Miss Vermont didn't want stories about her private sexual encounters published on the internet (who would?), yet Tucker takes delight in revealing intimate details about their relationship. Worse, he hides under the first amendment to justify his actions. Tucker fancies himself as a champion of free speech, when the real story is Tucker's cowardice in continuing to taunt a girl, whose privacy he had already shamelessly violated. Tucker feigns indignation at Miss Vermont's hypocrisy--her preaching chastity on the one hand, and not living up to it on the other. And that is apparently good enough reason for Tucker to go after her with a religious like fervor. He almost exudes moral righteousness that comes off as incredibly petty, creepy and vengeful. In short, the Miss Vermont story makes him look really small, vindictive and cowardly.
Hilarity Ensues is a fun read--with the salient exception of the Miss Vermont chapter--but it belies Tucker's delusion that he has grown or that he is an exceptional writer. He is still petty, at times bitter, and never particularly insightful.
on April 28, 2013
(By the way, my first review for one of Tucker Max's books was rejected by amazon for profanity. If you've read any of his books, you see how silly that is, but I suppose we're writing reviews for those who haven't read his books yet, so I'll try again, this time avoiding the kind of language Tucker Max uses every other word in all his books.)
If you're the type of person amazon was protecting by rejecting my first review, you will NOT like Tucker Max or his books. I freely and frequently use profanity, my favorite comedian is Stephen Lynch, and back when he was popular for a nanosecond, I thought Andrew Dice Clay was a funny jerk. But--mostly due to the way he writes about women, and his complete tone-deaf portrayal of himself, I loathed everything about the writer and his books.
So, when I say I finally laughed, I'm not referring to at long last "getting" the awesomeness that Tucker Max claims to be, or in the end being glad I spent money and time on him. In the place of "awesome", put "late-stage alcoholic", and I regret the purchase, because at the end of the last book, I found him to be more vile than at the beginning of the first one. I read them all because I paid for them, and because the reviews were so positive I kept thinking I must not have gotten to the fun part yet. Well, since Tucker Max characterizes his fans as losers and idiots, I guess the rave reviews were a bit misleading.
Like his targets, Tucker Max struck me as funny only by accident: he's funny when he gives advice (and he's uproarious when he gives advice to women about being honest, and owning their own natures), because he isn't some cute scamp whose pranks (you see how far I'm going to avoid having another review rejected) that include evading the law are harmlessly entertaining. He also isn't, as someone described him, anything like the old friend you had who drank too much but you still remember fondly. At least he's no one I'd remember with affection. He's a malignant narcissist who thinks when he and his alcoholic friends ruin cars by throwing glass bottles at them it's a riot, but when a drunk girl pees in his bed, it's the worst thing to happen to anyone, ever. So when he gives advice, people should ignore it.
He's also funny when he writes that he created a life and a self he could be proud of, because I can't imagine anyone, anywhere being genuinely proud of his life. The way he treats women (far worse than his pet) and the way he writes about them (I've never read so many demeaning descriptions of women in my life), the way he abuses alcohol (his liver must be a cirrhotic mass of scars by now), or the way he treats other guys (after emptying a can of mace all over a naked man, he is humane enough to recognize the man's agony, but not sane or sentient enough to reflect on the fact that his cruelty caused that pain) are astonishingly callous, and not in a funny way.
He uses a howitzer to blast Katy Johnson away, when a whisk-broom would have worked fine. A few words--or even her own words--would easily have put her in her place; she's a hypocritical, faux-religious pageant girl whose advice about how to be a good person is only slightly less inane than Tucker Max's own. But the way he psychoanalyzes her lame cartoons is the epitome of hypocrisy, as he is unwilling (at any time in his books) to stop and question why he keeps getting into relationships with girls he thinks are beneath him in every way. Also, I find it equal parts amusing and horrifying that he frequently refers to his plans to have a wife and family someday. Does it never occur to him that the reason he can't respect any of his hookups or girlfriends is that no sane, smart, self-respecting woman would spend more than 5 minutes with him? And the idea of him being a father to a daughter makes me shudder. I honestly hope the x-ray video he was so proud of being in prevents him from procreating.
He's amusing in the extreme when he refers to himself as good-looking; he puts a lot of photos in his books, and even on my Kindle I can tell that he's a 4 at best. His humor, likewise, is not amazing and brilliant, but in many cases just the usual drunk comedian's riff on fat girls/ugly girls/beer goggles. I imagine he's the kind of comedian who you'd laugh yourself sick over while drunk, but if you went to see him sober, you'd be wondering why you paid good money to listen to lame retreads about girls' body parts having their own zip codes. You get the gist. In Tucker Max's world (and books), he gets the win every time; enemies are struck dumb, girls are reduced to tears and flee parties, and jerks are knocked cold and then attacked anew when they demand payment for their injuries (but the poor drunk girl who peed in his bed meekly submits to his request for replacement money). He's a bully whose idea of winning is hurting other people blindly, blithely, and constantly. He's Charlie Sheen's uglier, less famous, better-educated (but wasting it) stepbrother.
Lastly, but most tellingly, there were two things that made me laugh, one from his book, and one from his real life. The first was when a teenage girl told him, "You're not that great-looking, so I thought you'd be good in bed to make up for it. But then you're not that great in bed, so I thought you'd be nice to make up for that. But you're not even nice, so I don't see why I should hang out with you." (His reply wasn't as funny as her comment, which I'm paraphrasing. But, you know, in Tucker Max's mind, he always gets the last laugh.)
In the end, hilarity ensued for me when I went on wikipedia and read that when his super-awesome book about his super-awesome life was made into a super-awesome movie, it tanked hard (which explains why I'd never heard of him). Even though it was co-written by one of his best friends, people stayed away in droves because word of mouth was that the main character was too loathsome to make for a decent movie. This means that even a guy who knows Tucker Max well--and likes him a lot--can't make him seem like anything but an mean alcoholic who gets joy out of hurting other people's feelings and is incapable of being kind even to his own friends. The movie flopped because everyone saw what I got out of his books.
Now that's funny to me.
on March 31, 2013
Before I say much about this book, I must say that I loved the first two books Tucker Max wrote. The first book had great content and good writing, and the second book followed up with great content AND great writing. In this third book, the writing is still great, but Tucker Max is running out of content and at times it seems that he is aware of it himself.
In one instance (a story titled "The TMZ Debacle") Tucker Max even says that normally he would not have deemed the story worth telling, but because TMZ interviewed him about it, he is doing it anyway. He tells a Halloween story and mentions that there is a better Halloween story in his second book the title of which Amazon will not let me spell out. In that same book there is an amazingly funny story about an encounter between him and two ex girlfriends; in this book we get the much less interesting epilogue to that story.
The book spends two pages on a story which can be summed up as: "Guys go to look at wild horses. One guy is bit in the hand by a horse". Another two pages are spent on a story which is basically "This one guy may or may not have been gay".
The stories about his friend Hate are kind of funny, but mostly they can be summed up as "Hate got angry, Tucker Max and Credit laughed". The Cancun stories started out really good, but they sounded surprisingly preachy at times when Tucker Max recounts events that he was not even present for.
And then there is the sexting... let me just say that it gets old really fast.
He is a great writer and I loved his first two books, but in this book his is clearly running out of stuff to write about. I cannot imagine what was left for the fourth book, "Sloppy Seconds", which is supposedly the stuff that was not good enough for this book.