Monday, February 12, 2007

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION - sadly, rather disappointing

In every actor there lives a tiger, a pig, an ass, and a nightingaleI realise that it's more than a little perverse to praise a mainstream, unimaginative rom-com like MUSIC AND LYRICS and then to pan a Christopher Guest movie in the same week. After all, Christopher Guest is a comic genius. He co-wrote and starred in THIS IS SPINAL TAP and more recently brought us the wickedly well-observed improvised mockumentaries BEST IN SHOW and A MIGHTY WIND. So, I approached his latest effort, spoofing a low-budget movie production that suddenly gets a whiff of an Oscar, with high expectations.

The resulting film is, however, sadly disappointing. Something about the scenario or the characters just didn't take. Perhaps it's because Hollywood is too obvious a target. No-one had made a film about dog shows, let alone used it as a hook on which to skewer the insecurities of humanity. But Hollywood has been done - not least by David Mamet in the outstanding STATE AND MAIN. Maybe, Guest just missed a trick in the characterisations he handed his key players. In particular, I thought Jennifer Coolidge was wasted - criminally hemmed in by her part as a dim-witted movie producer. But a lot of the time, the results yielded by the improvisation just didn't have the necessary quotient of witty one-liners. Ricky Gervais was very ordinary as a mercenary studio executive, and the Siskel and Ebert spoof fell flat too.

Still, Christopher Guest on bad form is still light years ahead of most of the alleged comedy filling the multiplex and there are a couple of scenes in FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION that had me guffawing in an embarassingly conspicuous manner. The stand-out actors are John Michael Higgins, who plays a PR agent called Corey Taft and Fred Willard who plays an ageing, wannabe hipster entertainment reporter. Willard really is Pure Comedy Gold in this flick.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION played Toronto and London 2006. It was released in the US last November, in Australia in January and in the UK on Friday. It is released on Region 1 DVD on February 20th.

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