Writer-director Michael Traeger presides over an impressive group of actors in The Amateurs
, a 2005 film that, due to various distribution problems, took more than two years to reach theaters (in late '07). But it's unlikely that Jeff Bridges, Ted Danson, Joe Pantoliano, William Fichtner, Lauren Graham, Glenne Headley, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and the other cast members will be putting it very high on their resumes, as this is a whole that's decidedly less than the sum of its parts. Bridges, who manages to suggest some of the same slacker charm he brought to his iconic role as The Dude in The Big Lebowski
, plays Andy Sargentee, a small town loser (the burg in question is called Butterface Falls) who can't hold a job and has passively surrendered his ex-wife (Tripplehorn) and son to a guy rich enough to install a basketball court in the kid's bedroom. When Andy decides that he's finally "had enough of not having enough," he comes up with a cockeyed plan to make a porn film, with his pals serving as producer, director, and crew, and various local gals as the onscreen talent (or so the guys hope). It's an amusing setup, but while the actors appear to be having a good time, the movie just isn't very funny (it's also hampered by an array of appalling stereotypes; Danson's character, who wants to be called Moose because he can't admit that he's gay, is little more than a gallery of fey mannerisms, while the women, with the notable exception of Graham, are largely depicted as desperate, stupid, or both). Traeger tries to salvage the proceedings with a feel-good twist ending, but The Amateurs
(which contains no nudity, premise notwithstanding) is pretty much a lost cause by then. --Sam Graham
Sex sells in America and these guys know it. When Andy (Jeff Bridges) discovers that his ex-wife has married an extremely wealthy man who is now his sons "cool" stepfather, he becomes motivated to make a change in his life. With the help of his friends (Ted Danson, Joe Pantoliano) a small town group of loveable losers, they hit upon an idea to make their dreams come true. The grand plan that will lead to a life of riches and fame is to make the worlds most innocent adult film. Everymans fantasy turns into a hilarious misadventure when they find that theyre way in over their heads.