A Bunch Of Amateurs
The ageing Hollywood action star, Jefferson Steel (Burt Reynolds), thought that it would be a good idea to break away from his actress daughter, Amanda (Camilla Arfwedson), by accepting a Shakespearean role in England, found for him by his down on his luck agent, Charlie Rosenberg (Charles Durning).
But Jeff thought wrong. Very-very wrong. If it wasn't bad enough that he has to share a house with one of the sex-starved cast-members, Mary (Imelda Staunton). To make matters even worse, the rest the troupe are all a bunch of bloody amateurs.
Yeah. Straight up, folks! The director of this production, Dorothy Nettle (Samantha Bond), is a mobile librarian. Their theatre is a run down barn situated in the middle of the British countryside. Plus to top it all off, the rest of the cast are all part-timers, except for Nigel Dewberry (Derek Jacobi), who's an overbearing wannabe thespian.
Still, I suppose it could be a lot-lot worse. Right? Jeff could piss off these amateurs by not knowing his lines and asking for thing's like a hot-tub, a trailer, and all of those other little luxuries he's used to. Furthermore, he could also annoy the sponsor of this gig by getting too friendly with his wife.
Oops! Spoke too soon.
Well, that's most probably why what next transpires breaks a leg when a Shakespearean play is told to f*ck off. As an action star gets bent - lies pay the rent - a performance ends with a bong - and come on folks, the show must always go on.
Now I've always liked one of the writers on 'A Bunch of Amateurs' since I first saw him on the popular British panel show, 'Have I Got News for You'. No. It's not Paul Merton. Although I do think he's great as well. It's that other one. That small satirical one that looks like the Scottish singer, Jimmy Somerville.
Honestly. It wasn't the Royal recommendation that made me want to watch this movie. It was Ian. Just so I could see for myself what he and the other writers could come up with for this very British piece.
'And what did I find?' you might ask yourself. Well, as I just said, 'a very British piece'. Involving a washed-up American action star coming to
and integrating himself within a community and a genre which is not akin to his
own. Also, I suppose you could say it's about the value of family, and how
sometimes you don't know something's missing until you start looking for it.
Granted, I know that this may sound somewhat 'run-of the mill' in plot terms. Still, all in all I thought that this comedy was a very well-polished project. All the actors were great. The production was very quaint. And even though it was kind of predictable on occasion, the story told an actual story that made some sort of sense.
But on a more personal note, dear reader, what I liked the most about 'A Bunch of Amateurs', was how it made you believe in what was going on. I mean, let's face it, most people from this neck of the woods have seen quite a few American actors come over here and try to go 'rural' in their roots. Yet, whilst saying that, how many of us have seen this depicted on screen in a way that's logical and has some intellectual pathos behind it?
Overall 'A Bunch of Amateurs' is a very British film that was made even better by Burt Reynolds inclusion. No word of a lie. If you want to immerse yourself into a flick that's one part zing, one part quaint, one part English, and one part formulaic, here, you've just hit the jackpot baby. Don't you agree, Ian?
Ha! What a git.
THE RATING: A