A Bunch Of Amateurs (15)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Dec 23 2008A 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.
Author: Anna Smith