FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006)
Starring Carrie Aizley, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley, Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, Paul Dooley, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, Rachael Harris, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Don Lake, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean, Larry Miller, Christopher Moynihan, Catherine O’Hara, Jim Piddock, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Deborah Theaker, Fred Willard and Scott Williamson.
Screenplay by Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy.
Directed by Christopher Guest.
Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures. 86 minutes. Rated PG-13.
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.
Actually, For Your 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…)
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 talent.
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)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 17, 2006.