A Bunch Of Amateurs (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Dec 23 2008

A Hollywood has-been slums it in an amateur British production: it’s a description that covers both plot and film in this amiable but scattershot comedy. Burt Reynolds is Jefferson Steel, a pampered action star desperate to make a comeback. He accepts an offer to do Shakespeare in Stratford, little knowing that it’s not upon Avon, but the (fictional) village of Stratford St John in Suffolk.

Naturally, the amateur theatre group is in raptures about the arrival of their LA King Lear, but the man himself is less than enthused about acting alongside pig farmers and staying in a B&B with no ensuite facilities. It’s a reasonably amusing idea, and the script duly has fun with the contrasts between LA-la land and sleepy Suffolk. Steel pops his shoes outside his bedroom door only for a dog to chew on them. Later, the local mobile library is hurriedly transformed into a makeshift trailer. 

Such antics raise a smile, but no belly laughs. Those are reserved soley for Imelda Staunton, who puts in a jolly performance as the owner of the B&B and Steel’s biggest fan. Derek Jacobi also acts a bland Reynolds off the screen in a no-brainer role as a Shakesperian purist. But the story is completely preposterous, as anyone with a passing knowledge of Hollywood and agents (ie 'Entourage' viewers) will know. It’s also hastily edited and, in places, poorly cast. The talents of Staunton, Jacobi and love interest Samantha Bond aside, the title may be more accurate than originally intended.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Dec 19, 2008

Duration:

97 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|30
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Jonny

Godawful drudge of a film that wastes Staunton and Jacobi. It's like an unfunny Vicar of Dibley. Every scene is ham acting, the "Sleepy Suffolk" angle is contrived to the point of tedium and Samantha Bond should never 'act' on our screens again. The sort of film that makes you want to have a bash at writing a comedy yourself, 'cos if they'll splash money on that......

Peter

A great light hearted comedy that reminds you that life can still feel good. ignore the haters, this is an entertaining night in.

Nick B

Just watched this on DVD with my partner - we both enjoyed it = agree wi th a lot of the above - funny and a feelgood film - slightly Ealing Comedyish - reminded of me of the Titfiled Thunderbolt - slightly preposterous but highly amusing and a few laughs. Thought Reynolds improved as it went on - a pleasing way to spend a couple of hours

Don

Superb film. A classic british feel good movie with lots of laughs just like the old ealing comedies. Nice to see a movie that has clearly learnt from the best of british TV comedy and which is not too stuck up to have fun. I thought Burt Reynolds was great despite other comments on this site. The rest of the cast, including minor roles, were highly enjoyable, again despite the views of other reviewers. This film proves we Brits love Shakespeare, but we love good quality daft comedy such as this as well.

Don

Superb film. A classic british feel good movie with lots of laughs just like the old ealing comedies. Nice to see a movie that has clearly learnt from the best of british TV comedy and which is not too stuck up to have fun. I thought Burt Reynolds was great despite other comments on this site. The rest of the cast, including minor roles, were highly enjoyable, again despite the views of other reviewers. This film proves we Brits love Shakespeare, but we love good quality daft comedy such as this as well.

andy b

After a slightly shaky start, with an obviously aged Burt R shuffling about, I feared the worst but it picked up a little once we were over here in the company of some English thesps. I may have imagined layers of subtlety in the film that aren't there, but I thought it was wonderful and I had tears in my eyes during the last reel. I read a little about BR and his chat shows/one man shows and theatre work and am forced to realise he's more versatile than he would normally be given credit for. Any film that takes you out of yourself into another world for 90 minutes does what it says on the tin; this is one of those and is a film well worth watching.

Peter

A surprising range of reviews above. Perhaps this has something to do with age. I loved this gentle film with its interesting scenario and quiet humour. Of course the story was ludicrous but you could say that about "Harry Potter". I watched this in a cinema in a small market town. 220 people laughed loudly throughout the programme and stood to applaud at the end. Is this a usual response to modern cinema? Very much in the style of the old Ealing comedies but perhaps with more depth than some of your critics give credit. The film proved the point it was making - Burt Reynolds cannot play Shakespear!

Peter

A surprising range of reviews above. Perhaps this has something to do with age. I loved this gentle film with its interesting scenario and quiet humour. Of course the story was ludicrous but you could say that about "Harry Potter". I watched this in a cinema in a small market town. 220 people laughed loudly throughout the programme and stood to applaud at the end. Is this a usual response to modern cinema? Very much in the style of the old Ealing comedies but perhaps with more depth than some of your critics give credit. The film proved the point it was making - Burt Reynolds cannot play Shakespear!

laura

This was a very funny film with a fantastic performance from Imelda staunton in particular. Knowing the story of King Lear I could see the clever way the story mirrored the Shakespear play. Burt reynolds did liik a bit stiff but this worked for the most part as that was his character in the film.I had a good laugh and would recommend the film. Oh, and the scenery of the Isle of man is lovely to look at too.

laura

This was a very funny film with a fantastic performance from Imelda staunton in particular. Knowing the story of King Lear I could see the clever way the story mirrored the Shakespear play. Burt reynolds did liik a bit stiff but this worked for the most part as that was his character in the film.I had a good laugh and would recommend the film. Oh, and the scenery of the Isle of man is lovely to look at too.

Ian

A very enjoyable film with a lot of laughs from top-notch British actors.

Ian

A very enjoyable film with a lot of laughs from top-notch British actors.

Violet

An absolute shambles of a film. Slow, ridiculous script, unfunny, ham acting. How it ever got made baffles me.

Helen

A great film with a funny cleverly written and well observed script. The acting was not only excellent but also subtle and very very funny. A must see.

Helen

A great film with a funny cleverly written and well observed script. The acting was not only excellent but also subtle and very very funny. A must see.

suzanne

Bert Reynolds was miscast, as his attempts at acting in the film were not good. I don’t know if it is because of his face lifts, but there was only one expression on his face – blank . Charles Durning, who played Reynolds’ agent has an excellent pedigree, however he appeared quite infirm and I thought he was about to breath his last at any minute which took away any comedic value. Another unfortunate aspect of the film was the fact that the sound equipment kept appearing above the actors’ heads and took away from the experience quite considerably. Having said the above I think that the film was based on an excellent idea and had an excellent British cast.

brucie

Very enjoyable british set comedy - several nice twists in the story line - well worth going to see - unfortunately not being shown in many cinemas - which is a great shame

brucie

Very enjoyable british set comedy - several nice twists in the story line - well worth going to see - unfortunately not being shown in many cinemas - which is a great shame

Slinky Sid

Having heard an interview with one of the cast on BBC Local Radio I went to see this movie with some expectation of an enjoyable film. I admit that I was not trying to be ultra-critical - and found the start of the movie with Jefferson Steel a little slow and presenting a stereotypical view of the Hollywood star at his worst. Once the film moved to the outer reaches of Stratford St John with its amateur drama group for me, at least, it came into its own. Having spent many years with village am-dram groups over the years there were all the right characters showing off the traits one came to love and loathe. So can it be summed up? Well I would sum it up as: Vicar of Dibley meets Full Monty meets Jam and Jerusalem. It was an easy film to watch with some pretty obvious plotlines - but frankly, the Saturday after Xmas was a perfect night of seeing a film that offered a simple story with a "happy ever after" ending. Of course it was implausble (one review above) but then so was Fully Monty - and so have been many other films over the years but, for me at least, this was a humourous film which did give me more than a few laugh-outloud moments and kept a smile on my face throughout. Frankly I dont ask much more from an evening's entertainment than that. Go and see what you think! This is after all just my opinion.

Ian

Really good fun. Going to the movies doesn't have to be penance.

Ian

Really good fun. Going to the movies doesn't have to be penance.

whiz

A perfect escape film for the credit drunch time. Strong cast with hilarious dialogue and also moving.. A must see

whiz

A perfect escape film for the credit drunch time. Strong cast with hilarious dialogue and also moving.. A must see