The Amateurs Michael Traeger

The Amateurs Michael Traeger
Pragmatic discussions of how irresponsible it might be for porn character Boris to sodomise Bianca while she diffuses a bomb are really the high point of this somewhat disjointed ensemble comedy. The Amateurs desperately wants to be what Doc Hollywood would have been if Michael J. Fox decided to film Bridget Fonda and Julie Warner spanking each other but it comes off more like a drunken Frank Oz movie without a script supervisor. There are moments of wry, inspired humour delivered by capable actors but they are infrequent and often overshadowed by oversimplification and illogical character motivations. A recently divorced slacker named Andy (Jeff Bridges) finds himself threatened by the wealth of his ex-wife’s (Jeanne Tripplehorn) new boyfriend (Steven Weber) when visiting his son (Alex D. Linz). Desperate to get rich quick, he concocts a plan to make an amateur porno, roping in best buddy Barney (Tim Blake Nelson), closeted homosexual Moose (Ted Danson), resident scatterbrain Some Guy (Joe Pantoliano), church janitor Otis (William Fichtner) and video store clerk Emmett (Patrick Fugit) to help. Dynamics between the diverse cast are solid and consistent, giving the film some much needed continuity, but the structurally unsound plot that veers off into weirdsville by the time the misguided ending stumbles about deteriorates the majority of this chemistry. It becomes a mess of forced resolutions, undeveloped love interests and peculiar dances intended to represent happiness. In addition, the talents of Lauren Graham and Jeanne Tripplehorn are essentially wasted via a lack of comfort in writing female characters. On the other hand, anyone who’s ever wanted to see Ted Danson jump up and down nude will be pleased. The "making of” featurette and Jeff Bridges photo album, which is narrated by Bridges, Traeger and producer Aaron Ryder, are the real treats of The Amateurs DVD. They capture behind the scenes moments effectively and provide both comedic and informative insights about their characters, the collaboration and experiences, with related material. They also reveal Bridges’s initial disdain for the screenplay, reinforcing dominant beliefs surrounding gut instincts. (Peace Arch)