Down-and-out divorcee Andy Sargentee (Jeff Bridges), with the help of his five motley friends, brainstorms a genius idea to make their dreams come true. They are going to rally their small town to produce an amateur adult film! They think they've found the road to fame and fortune, but their fantasy quickly turns into a hilarious misadventure as they encounter more than a few bumps in the road. Their good natured attempts lead to the creation of the most un-adult, adult film ever. See how THE AMATEURS bring an entire small town together, in the biggest comedic disaster turned boffo box office success.
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