For Your Consideration
Christopher Guest and his
troupe are simply the best comic ensemble working today. Guest has
found a specialty in a movie world where way too little is special.
Guest and his co-stars (many of whom are also good friends who have worked
together enough that they have an effortless rapport) work without a net or
a script per se. They come up with basic ideas and riff
improvisationally off each other. Improv can work on film or not, but
no one does it better than the people here.
These films spring from the
classic 1983 comedy This Is Spinal Tap, in which Guest and his
longtime partners Michael McKean (Laverne and Shirley) and Harry
Shearer (The Simpsons) did a mock-documentary about a horribly
mediocre British metal band. Over the years the improv group has added
great talents like Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara (SCTV), Parker
Posey (Dazed and Confused), Fred Willard (Fernwood 2Night),
Jane Lynch (The 40 Year-Old Virgin), John Michael Higgins (The
Late Shift), Bob Balaban (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and
Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie).
They find their inspiration
in all types of show business – in recent years they have tackled dog
shows, local theater and folk music. Unlike the bulk of the
Guest film parodies (This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best In
Show, A Mighty Wind), this is not made as if it was a documentary.
Instead it has a narrative structure.
Consideration is more reminiscent of Guest's scripted 1989 Hollywood satire
The Big Picture, complete with Hollywood archetypes and stereotypes,
mock coming attractions reels and show biz fluff shows and glimpses of the
important, arty film which actually look pretty unbearably bad.
(Purposely, of course...)Actually,
For Your Consideration
also focuses on the movie business – a subject these players know all too
well – and the crazed nature of the awards in the business. It is
about the making of a stilted, cheesy, self-important historical epic called
Home for Purim about family, war, religion and homosexuality.
When some blogger suggests
that some of the cast are doing Oscar caliber work, the entire production
gets swept up into a vortex of hype and competing egos. It is a
ridiculous suggestion, but this troupe doesn't judge or mock in their films,
they always revel in the idea of egos and desires well out of whack with
Instead, Hollywood itself
gets a microscope put to it. The execs get skewered as they remove
everything that is individual and different from the little melodrama.
The critics are shown fawning over something unmemorable and then promptly
forgetting it. Particularly funny and pointed are Fred Willard and
Jane Lynch in an astonishingly spot on parody of TV info-tainment shows like
Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood. Even the way
they stand is spot on and funnier than half the jokes in most movies.
Of course, as mostly
happens in Hollywood, there are no real happy endings here. That is
okay, though, because Guest's films always champion the idea of following
your dream, no matter how delusional it may be. (11/06)
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Posted: November 17, 2006.