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4.4 out of 5 stars68
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2009
Having read the previous reviews, I was slightly put off. But a friend has a copy and my wife and I watched it recently. What it a surprise - it was a lovely send up of the main character actors as themselves - Burt Reynolds is brilliant, as is Derek Jacobi an Amanda Staunton. The supporting actors are also great support, and we really enjoyed the subtle humour. There is a lot of tongue in cheek interaction, and we felt anyone who has a reasonable sense of humour will enjoy the film. We are purchasing our own copy, as we could watch this film over and over again.We can recommend it
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on 30 December 2009
A good feel factor film that would appeal to most people, but particularly those who have been involved with the amateur theatre. Rather predicable but, very entertaining and with a style and thread of humour that is specifically British rather than the brash overt humour of the US.

Lasting approx 90 mins it spans the arrival of an egocentric American 'big star' to a small amateur dramatic society in England's Stratford St John, as opposed to Stratford on Avon where the star (Burt Reynolds) thinks he's performing.

The big star eventually finds out that the 'real world' isn't so bad after all.

Great performances all round by a cast of very familiar faces.
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on 23 May 2010
I initially bought this film because it was shot locally. I have watched it twice with friends and we laughed so much. When so many films today are 'shoot 'em up' style with much swearing this is a welcome change. If you want to see a real 'feel good' film then this is it. Burt Renyolds plays the 'has been' Hollywood super star hoodwinked by his manager into performing with amateur actors in England in a bid to save their theatre. Wonderful twists and turns and when you think it's all over it isn't.
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on 18 February 2010
An excellent film, classic British stars abound, together with a splendidly relaxed performance from Reynolds. Saw some of the filming in Bucks. My wife asked in the pub who the star was? On being told said, 'didn't know he was still around', to be told 'Well he was this morning, he had breakfast here'.

Good fun all round
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on 4 April 2010
Great film with superb cameo performances from very 'English Actors'. Derek Jacobi plays the would be, overlooked Lear to perfection. Anyone who has had anything at all to do with local amateur dramatics will surely recognise many of their fellow 'thesps'.
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The Curse of the Royal Film Performance strikes again with A Bunch of Amateurs, the long-awaited collaboration between Burt Reynolds and, er, Ian Hislop (the Private Eye editor is one of the screenwriters rather than one of the cast). It ticks all the boxes for the kind of inoffensive resolutely old-fashioned commercial no-hopers that regularly get picked for an event that's like winning the lottery in a Shirley Harris horror story, seeming less a celebration of film than a national warning to steer clear of any cinema unwise enough to screen that year's unfortunate victim. As per the course, the film was a box-office disaster despite being filmed on the cheap on the tax-friendly Isle of Man.

It's not a bad idea, even if it does feel like something Richard Curtis would have toyed with for an hour or two before deciding to just write something else for Hugh Grant instead. Burt Reynolds is the ageing action star whose career is in the toilet, constantly mistaken for Sean Connery or Tom Selleck while his latest flop sequel plays to near-empty houses to only a few bored teens grossed out by how old he is. Even his agent (Charles Durning) is having his furniture repossessed. With no other offers, he's persuaded to `reinvent' himself by playing King Lear at Stratford - only his agent doesn't mention that it's the wrong Stratford and that it's an amateur production to raise funds to save a failing local theatre. Cue misunderstandings with the spoilt star (he demands a trailer, can't relate to his ordinary co-stars on any level, hasn't read the play - he can't even get through the Cliff Notes - and when he finally does thinks it could do with a rewrite and a happy ending), contrived conflict and diva-like behavior and a thinly developed Lear subplot about his difficult relationship with his own daughter before the inevitable warmly redemptive wrap-up.

Reynolds should be perfect casting, but unfortunately he fumbles or mumbles many of the funnier lines and doesn't have the dramatic chops for his scenes as Lear to impress anyone not required by the script to be blown away: he's certainly not giving the part his all despite (or perhaps because of) it being too autobiographical for comfort. Sadly Reynolds simply doesn't look at all healthy for much of the film - in several scenes he's obviously having extreme difficulty walking as if he suffered a serious knee injury some time after shooting started, so it seems entirely possible that he was on painkillers for much of the film, which might explain the performance and the reports of him being unable to remember his lines. Described at one point as "The only actor who may be too old to play King Lear" by Derek Jacobi's jealous am-dram ham, it seems less like a joke than fair comment.

The supporting cast fare rather better - Imelda Staunton's infatuated hotel landlady, Derek Jacobi's slighted rival for the plum part, Samantha Bond's director and some familiar faces from minor Britcoms - but despite a few mildly amusing moments (such as raising the budget by selling phoney sex scandal stories to the tabloids), it all feels like something that should have been made for Sunday evening television rather than a real film. Existing in that imaginary idyllic rural England that only exists in The Vicar of Dibley or Midsummer Murders (minus the senseless violence and the high body count), it's not bad enough to actively dislike but not good enough to warmly embrace.

Extras include soundbite interviews with the cast and crew and trailer.
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on 3 September 2010
Enjoyed a great night in with mates, all in our 40's and 50's, to watch this truly British gem. We had decided it would be cheaper to purchase the DVD from Amazon than all of us pay to go to the cinema 15 miles away to watch it! A wise move by us oldies!!
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A fairly traditional British comedy not far from the classic Ealing traditions- good-humoured, heart-warming, sweet, and witty, without being challenging or holding any real surprises.

Burt Reynolds is excellently typecast is the Hollywood has-been who acts like a wooden post, but it's the rest of the stars- Samantha Bond, Derek Jacobi, and Imelda Staunton in particular- that steal the show.

This movie will put a warm smile on your face, though it might not have you rolling in the aisles. A good family movie.
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on 17 April 2015
There ought to be more films like this one: Close-knit Village life, or is it? Common hobby interest of inhabitants but an undercurrent of rivalries. In this instance we find out a little or a little more about Shakespeare and King Lear. [Perhaps somebody should do the same with other plays of his.] Misunderstandings snowball, The end is in sight, but is it? No, it goes on to stagger to another end in sight, then another and another. A good satire on the tabloid treatment of apparently sexy goings-on. I loved the line when the bailiffs come and the victim says: "A paperless office? This is an officeless office!". Samantha Bond is a gem. The character change in Burt Reynolds as the plot develops is amazing. He looks exactly like my brother in law. I'd like to have seen more about the making of it and longer comments from the players on the Extras reel.
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on 19 September 2010
What a wonderful, fun movie this is. Conceited movie star thinking he's going to play Lear at the famous Stratford and ends up at another Stratford. Not an original plot in itself but so well worked with all the usual British humour, irony, quips, you name it, as well as heartwarming performances from all the perfectly cast characters. Don't miss it!
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