The film A Bunch of Amateurs, directed by Andy Cadiff, and staring Burt Reynolds was filmed in 2007 when Mr. Reynolds was 71 years old. The basic concept of using an aging action star to play an aging action star who steps outside of his formulaic career path to play Shakespeare's King Lear is the first clever idea in a series of clever ideas. Actually, Reynolds' character, Jefferson Steel is more than an aging star. He is a burned-out star, a has-been. He is tricked by his even more aged and broken down agent, played with gusto by Charles Durning, into thinking he will be playing in an important venue in England in the hometown of William Shakespeare surrounded by mobs of adoring fans. Instead he is in a small town community theater production being put on by a dedicated group of amateurs who are just trying to keep their theater from sinking into oblivion. Steel is the only big name they can afford, but if they can draw in a decent crowd, and with the support of a local brewer, they hope they just might make it. There are many parallels between the story of Lear and the story of Jefferson Steel. The character of Lear is old and delusional, Steel is fast approaching that same state, and the theater in which it all takes place is old and decrepit. Lear has daughter problems, and so does Steel. Steel has a hard time shifting from being a Hollywood star to doing legitimate theater in the middle of "a bunch of amateurs." He expects to be catered to and treated like royalty, just as Lear does after he has given up the throne. At one point he says he doesn't think he will be able to do the mad scene on the heath, and ultimately he winds up doing the scene for real as his world collapses around him. It's a fairly low budget production and the seams tend to show a bit, but it does have a lot of good stuff in it, and it has an excellent supporting cast. Anything with Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond and Charles Durning in it has got to be worth watching. The final resolution of the difficulties with the theater and Steel's relationship with his daughter is kind of easy to see coming, but as I said, it's worth watching. The biggest weakness is Burt Reynolds' performance. The character he plays is supposed to be aging and out of touch, but I could not help but wonder at times how much of it was acting and how much real. Maybe Reynolds is that good of an actor, but there were parts of the film where I felt uncomfortable watching him stumble around not seeming to be quite in touch with the camera. He does ultimately deliver a good Lear although I was reminded of when Lawrence Olivier did Othello. He asked Orson Welles if he had any advice on how to do the part. Welles said, don't do it. Othello is a natural baritone while Olivier was a natural tenor. With an incredible amount of hard work, Olivier transformed himself into a baritone. It's the same thing here. Lear is a baritone, and Reynolds is a tenor, but he never makes the transformation. If you like this film, you might also like a film called A Midwinter's Tale (1995). It's the same idea, a group of actors trying to put on a Shakespeare play against seemingly insurmountable odds.