Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Considerably Better than what's out there now.
And it ain't.
Instead of the more hyped films I went for a movie who's creative team already has a winning track record. The other day I saw For Your Consideration. It's the latest movie by Christopher Guest and his troupe of improv cast. This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show are prime examples of VERY funny films. No guys getting kicked in the crotch, no old ladies rapping, and most importantly, no Adam Sandler.
This time, Guest and his cast take aim at Hollywood. More importantly, the selling of Hollywood. How an off handed rumor can grow into an uncontrollable monster turning a small, personal film into an Oscar seeking missile.
Guest plays director Jay Berman who's helming a film called "Home for Purim".
"Home for Purim" is a drama set in the 1940's American South centering around a dying mother as their family gathers for what could be their final Purim, an obscure Jewish holiday.
When word of Oscar buzz for "Home for Purim" gets out, everyone from the actors to the producers to the studio heads begin to take it as gospel. The change from a heartwarming, small film to a more viewer friendly film is funny, but the change of the veteran actors is even more funny-and sad in a way.
That's where For Your Consideration works. It has that hard to watch type of humor (which was mastered on the BBC version of The Office) You cringe (and can't help but laugh) at the evolution of "Home for Purim's leads, Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) & Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer). You really can't fault their desire to finally get public accolades, for their years and years of hard, mostly unnoticed work on the screen. But it's their pathetic appearances on the hype machine, Talk shows, Radio Shock shows, MTV-esque "Hip" shows and "Entertainment Tonight" shows, is where the humor really excels.
And of course, Fred Willard steals every scene he's in!
All of that said, For Your Consideration, at times, does miss it's mark. At times I was reminded of episodes of SCTV. For awhile SCTV ran a sketch called "The Days of the Week", that made fun of Soap Operas. The sketch though was so perilously close to it's source that it was hard to tell the spoof from the real thing. There are stretches of this film that feel that way. The "Home for Purim" scenes are so dead on that the spoof, at times, doesn't work.
For Your Consideration isn't as good as Guests earlier films and that may be in part to our expectation. We the audience are entering the film demanding that they top themselves but in reality they may have gone to the well once too often.
So even though it didn't meet all my expectations, I still have to give For Your Consideration a Considered: