Merrick (insert markedly unfunny and decidedly desperate witticism here)...
Gigasteve wrote in with a look at THE AMATEURS, starring Jeff "When’s a friggin' TRON sequel coming out - the one in which my character is like Colonel Kurtz?" Bridges, William "Thank GOD I have anything theaters after ULTRAVIOLET!" Fichtner, Patrick "Remember the kid in ALMOST FAMOUS? That was ME! Really! It was!" Fugit, and...Ted Danson.
It also stars Joey Pants...who attended the Penn State screening witnessed by Gigasteve.
Here's Gigasteve with the rundown…
I just got back tonight from an early screening of a new movie with Jeff Bridges called The Amateurs at Penn State.
The movie was originally meant to be screened last month, with an appearance by co-star Joe Pantoliano. Joey Pants did come (his daughter is a student here), but technical difficulties plagued the screening twenty minutes in. Joe was very apologetic and stayed to answer questions for a while and in the meantime they set up another screening for tonight. No Joe tonight (he's apparently filming a new pilot for CBS about waterfront crime), but the movie did work so I can tell you what it's all about.
Jeff Bridges stars as a recent divorcee who is down on his luck in a small town. Looking for a way to make it big and have the means to spoil his son, he decides to make a porn movie. He does this with the help of his supportive friends, including Pantoliano, Ted Danson, William Fichtner, Tim Blake Nelson and Patrick Fugit. Their film will be distinctive because it will be made by and feature talent from their own small town. Now I know this entire plot sounds kind of corny but it is well executed – everyone laughed pretty hard throughout.
Besides having a great cast, what makes this movie different is that it is a sex comedy for and by adults. This may be a tough sell, but I can say that at least half of tonight's audience was definitely professors and community members, rather than students. Though there is little nudity or hard language, this is an R-movie because of its frank discussion of sex. It's funny because these guys are trying to be respectful by replacing words for genitalia with other appropriate, but ridiculous terms.
As I mentioned, the cast was great and everyone was prefect for their role. Pantoliano plays the appropriately named writer-director of the production, Some Idiot. Danson plays a gay friend who tries too hard at hiding his sexual orientation, making for some very funny and awkward moments. Fichtner does a really good job with making a fairly plain character entertaining and fun to watch. Bridges plays a loser in the vein of "The Dude", except he's got it together a little more and is a little cleaner cut. About half of Bridges performance is voiceover as well, which was done fairly well. My biggest complaint would be that their female characters receive very little screen time and are underdeveloped. The cut we saw really underused Lauren Graham and Judy Greer.
The film was written and directed by Michael Traeger, whose most notable previous credit was writing the script of MTV's Dead Man on Campus (ouch). The script was really funny and the direction was suitable, though not very special. Based on what Joe said at the first screening, it sounds like they will only be changing the opening of the film – so the cut I saw was pretty close to finished. I believe it will be hitting theaters late spring/early summer. All in all it was an entertaining little indie comedy and its worth checking out for a good laugh.