Too bad, because this Jack Black-Mos Def vehicle offers viewers a charming night at the movies. It's an American cousin to "Cinema Paradiso," only much shorter and sillier.
Black and Def play buddies who team up to make DIY versions of hit movies after a struggling video-rental shop has all of its VHS tapes accidentally erased. The customers love the bad replacement movies, of course, and line up for more. My favorite was the "2001" bit.
At this rate, "Be Kind, Rewind" will be in real video stores in a flash. Until then, lovers of movies about movies might want to check out "The Amateurs," a Jeff Bridges starrer made in 2005 and only briefly released in the U.S. last year. Aka "The Moguls."
Anyone see it? Hands? Thought so. ...
Michael Traeger directed this casual comedy about bored small-town characters who decide to make a porno film. These middle-aged slackers have no idea what they're doing, but everyone in town seems to think it's a dandy idea, down to the little old ladies. "Amateurs" is about hard-core sex, but pretty much anyone over 15 could watch it.
The ensemble cast is quite good, even during the parts where the movie isn't.
Joe Pantoliano plays the porn director, known as "Some Idiot" (don't ask); Ted Danson is the gay guy who only thinks he's in the closet; Tim Blake Nelson provides ballast as the semi-competent producer.
I liked the B-story about Bridges' son and his rich stepdad, as well as the performance of Lauren Graham, who was so good in "Bad Santa." Glenne Headley, pictured, does a nice job as a wary porn recruit.
I wouldn't want to take my thumbs-up on this movie into court, but if you're up for some good-hearted foolishness and some good acting, check out "The Amateurs."
The extras on First Look Studios' single-disc DVD include an making-of docu, a commentary with Bridges and Traeger, and some photos by talented photographer Bridges.
The production docu shows first-time director Traeger and his famous "buddy" actors spending a weekend together at the beach before filming -- an exercise in ensemble-building that paid off. Bridges tells how his associates and friends had to talk him into doing the film.
The DVD looks and sounds fine, and the Blu-ray is somewhat of a step up. There is also an HD DVD.