The Amateurs

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Posted November 30, 2007 in Film

In Porno Land, everything is easy. Fix a sink and receive some hot and nasty shagging. But Michael Traeger’s precious comedy about a town with a population in the triple digits that decides to shoot a triple XXX flick is more contrived than a horny housewife with characters less-developed than Jenna Jameson (and her saline doesn’t count). Mastermind and irritatingly loquacious narrator Andy (Jeff Bridges) wrangles a bar full of oddballs to write, cast, and film their can’t-fail money-maker: There’s dopey Barney (Tim Blake Nelson), dopier Some Idiot (Joe Pantoliano), cocky Otis (William Fichtner), closeted Moose (Ted Danson in full-Travolta camp), and film-student/video store clerk Emmett (Patrick Fuggit). Traeger relies on cheeky charm over plot and conflict; not only does everyone immediately embrace their inner Larry Flynt, but when Andy has to convince the girl at the mattress store to star in a lesbian scene off duty at work, she volunteers before he even asks. Before reaching a happy ending that comes with as little effort as, well, you know, the only burst of creativity is the number of euphemisms Traeger has for pussy (“fruit cup” was my favorite) and in a surprisingly balls-out bold scene, the crew has to fire the three black men in their innocent teen gang bang when they learn that certain rumors exceed reality. Asks one would-be filmmaker to the dismissed trio, “Did your parents work in the same nuclear plant?” (Amy Nicholson)


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