BEST IN SHOW (2000)
Starring Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean, Larry Miller, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey and Fred Willard.
Screenplay by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.
Directed by Christopher Guest.
Distributed by Castle Rock Entertainment. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Christopher Guest’s Waiting For Guffman may be the funniest film of the 90s. Between that film and This Is Spinal Tap, Guest has become the master of the mostly-improvised mock documentary. After a misguided step into the Hollywood mainstream (directing the Chris Farley/Matthew Perry stinker Almost Heroes), Guest has returned to the arena that he excels at.
Okay, let’s get to the point now. No, Best In Show is not as funny as Guffman. But, yes, it is still damn funny. Much of this has to do with the subject matter, a Dog Show and it’s wacky owners is just a tamer target than local theater geeks. Using much of the same cast and crew as Guffman, Guest is also more generous here. Instead of being the center ring of the craziness, Harlan Pepper, the character that Guest plays, is just a stoic, nice and rather dull character.
Instead, the ball is run out by Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins as a middle-aged gay couple and Eugene Levy as a jealous man whose wife’s (Catherine O’Hara) old boyfriends are lurking behind every corner. The movie is funny at this point, but it doesn’t totally take off until Fred Willard shows up as an ex-jock sportscaster who somehow got assigned to do play-by-play. Willard puts the film on his back and carries it to the finish line by himself, bringing forth a zaniness that makes the movie sparkle. In the end, it’s no crime that Best of Show is not quite as funny as its predecessor. It’s still better than 90% of the films coming out of Hollywood these days. (9/00)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright © 2000 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 19, 2000.