The sleepy hamlet of Butterface Fields goes along with Sargentee’s salacious plan. Several townspeople finance the project, including best friends Barney (Tim Blake Nelson), Otis (William Fichtner), Moose (Ted Danson) and Emmett (Patrick Fugit), and dysfunctional duo Moe and Ron (John Hawkes and Brad Henke, respectively).
Sargentee agrees to let a local Foto-Hut employee, affectionately nicknamed Some Idiot (Joe Pantoliano), write and direct the movie-within-the-movie for the discount on developing. The eponymous amateurs bungle their way through the making of the lascivious film.
The movie has several funny moments, and a handful of notable actors stop by for cameos. Brad Garrett’s short but memorable turn as the manager of a sporting goods store is especially pleasing. Blink and you’ll miss Steven Weber, whose talent is wasted in a meager role.
Unfortunately, the movie suffers from a terrible malady that afflicts many movies and TV shows. The Amateurs suffers from a serious bout of voice-over madness.
Bridges narrates the movie – the entire movie. When he’s walking down the street, Bridges declares, “I was walking down the street.”
It’s so grating it ruins an otherwise fine film. Ironically, his character, Sargentee, even mentions the screenplay rule “Show, don’t tell” in his narration.
Screenwriter/director Michael Traeger violates every rule his characters espouse. The Amateurs could have been a cute little comedy, but it comes off as amateurish.
The Amateurs releases in select theaters Dec. 7.