I bloody hate the theatre. I don't quite no why. It might be because most people involved in it are pretentious and dull and spout crap like 'The Show Must Go On'. Put me in a room full of thesps and I'll scream Macbeth at them until they shit themselves and fall down screaming. This like most of my thoughts and opinions is based on nothing and if I ever left the confines of my bedroom and/or cinema to watch a play I might actually enjoy it. But probably not judging by A Bunch of Amateurs.
Burt Reynolds plays Jefferson Steel, an over the hill action man, star of the brilliantly titled 'Ultimate Finality' movies. When work dries up in America his agent gets him the part of King Lear in Stratford, England. The problem being that there are quite a few Stratfords in England and Upon Avon is not the one that Jefferson is playing to. Instead he's sadled with a community theatre project somewhere in Suffolk where his Hollywood temperement won't be pandered to.
And that's the only real joke in the film. He's a bigshot actor that likes things his way, they are a group of Hicks that wouldn't know their Cappucino from their Al Pacino (where have I stolen that from?). Oh the hilarity that ensues. That last line was sarcasm yet judging by the audience I watched it with there was much hilarity ensuing. Everytime a Shakespeare gag reared its ugly head the 7 other audeince members wet themselves laughing. They also laughed at Imelda Stauntons character, the most eye/ear/nose-gaugingly awful thing on screen since Julie Walters in Mamma Mia, so I think this just reinforces my beliefs about theatre types.
The inclusion of Burt Reynolds as the lead is the only real pulling point. Look its the Bandit in an English pub! But seeing as I don't like him even this doesn't help much. Apart from Deliverance and Boogie Nights I can't think of another good Burt performance. From a man whose career has spanned four decades that's a shit batting average. He's not even good enough to play himself which seems to be what he's doing in this. With an appalling attempt at a romantic story, racial sterotypes ticked off one by one and a painfully predictable plot A Bunch of Amateurs should only be remembered as a funny line in The Big Lebowski.