director Christopher Guest
When Christopher Guest made Waiting for Guffman in 1997, it was a welcome return to the mockumentary, a form Guest most notably contributed to in the classic This is Spinal Tap (1984). Guffman‘s success begot 2000’s Best in Show, and eventually A Mighty Wind (2003) For Your Consideration (2006), and the forthcoming Mascots (2016).
Apparently nobody told Guest that the schtick was wearing thin, even in 2000.
Best in Show still got a lot of positive reaction, but when it came out, I felt like a real documentary might be even funnier than this improv-heavy take on dog owners and their kooky habits and fancy pets vying for awards. Actually, Best in Show doesn’t even really try that hard to pretend that it’s a documentary, forgoing elements of the illusion in what has come to dominate comedy film and television. Hand-held cameras, with characters addressing an audience, cut seemingly from on the go real life.
I showed this to my kids because I thought they would find it funny (they did). But increasingly, I didn’t. I hate being such a stick in the mud but the only thing I liked this time through was Fred Willard’s annoying commentator and the forgiving love between Eugene Levy’s character and Catherine O’Hara.