I’m no expert on adult moviemaking, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that professional pornographers don’t turn their backs while shooting the sex scenes. The crew of small-town Amateurs that perpetual loser Andy Sargentee (Jeff Bridges) talks into producing a porno in this slapdash satire does, however, and by the end of this embarrassing entry on the resumes of its talented cast, audiences will likely be wishing they could follow suit.
The mystery of how writer/director Michael Traeger managed to attract not only Bridges but also Ted Danson, William Fichtner, Patrick Fugit, Lauren Graham, Tim Blake Nelson, Joe Pantoliano and Jeanne Tripplehorn with a limp plot and stiff jokes is perhaps the only intriguing thing about The Amateurs. Traeger’s Grade-Z zingers include naming one of his central characters “Some Idiot” (Pantoliano) and referring to a pair of inseparable simpletons as “Moe-Ron” (John Hawkes and Brad Henke, respectively).
The similarly silly “Butterface Fields” is the small town where Andy—in the midst of a midlife crisis after his ex-wife (Tripplehorn) marries a millionaire—and his dim-bulb buddies set out to shoot “a he and a she a-he-in’-and-a-she-in’” for fun and profit. For research, they rent a stack of XXX movies and come up with a list of must-have scenes. Finding willing women—and men with “proper porn penis”—to act them out proves much more difficult, however, but potential laughs are largely lost due to the one-note nature of the characters.
Distributor: First Look
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Ted Danson, William Fichtner, Tim Blake Nelson, Joe Pantoliano, Patrick Fugit, Lauren Graham, Glenne Headly, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Isaiah Washington and Judy Greer
Director/Screenwriter: Michael Traeger
Producer: Aaron Ryder
Rating: R for sexual content and language
Running time: 99 min.
Release date: December 7, 2007 LA/Dallas, December 14 Seattle/Minneapolis