Saturday, March 7, 2015
Indie Review: Best In Show (2000)
'Best In Show' Features Such Biting Wit That Far Exceeds Its Bark
A comedy with dogs. How could I lose? Apparently, even Christopher Guest doesn't know as this is an intriguing yet funny character study that makes me want to seek out his previous work.
Best In Show follows the story of different and rather colorful contestants of a dog show and the events leading up to it. Plus, the film even shows how the dogs match the personalities of their respective owners.
I'll start off by discussing the actors because this is very much an actor's showcase and this is director Christopher Guest's specialty as he uses improv comedy with the same troupe of actors. A few standouts I'll get into first are Michael Hitchcock and Parker Posey, who play a yuppie couple that takes their dog to therapy after she witnesses tham having sex, confusing her neurotic behavior for depression. These two are an absolute riot and pull off the competitive edge of their characters through frantic energy. There is also Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara , who play off each other handsomely as Gerry and Cookie Fleck, a middle-class couple with a Norwich Terrier who constantly run into Cookie's past loves. Jennifer Coolidge also provides some great laughs as the rather vapid trophy wife Sherri Ann, as well as Christopher Guest as Harlan, a hunter with a Bloodhound and a penchant for ventriloquism. All the other actors, like John Michael Higgins, Michael McKean, Jane Lynch, and Fred Willard, who gives a rather layered, scene-stealing turn as a quippy newscaster, also deliver terrific performances as well. The amazing thing about these actors is that they create at least one character that certain audiences will love and will stick with them.
Christopher Guest is all about his characters and finding humor in the characters rather than the joke itself and I thought it was interesting how he filmed it in a mockumentary style to make it seem authentic yet humorous. Watching this makes me wonder what the filmmakers of say, American Hustle or August: Osage County could've accomplished had they taken a similar approach. One thing that I found interesting, and I may just be overthinking this, is that I felt the film had something to say about the division of class. The characters come from various social classes, as demonstrated by their appearance and demeanor, and the film almost feels like a subtle clash between the various classes and deals with themes like superiority and competition.
Overall, Best In Show is an uproarious mockumentary that features colorful performances and demonstrates the themes of social class and superiority.
Would I Recommend It?:
Yes, but not to everybody. Although I think it is funny, not everybody will appreciate this type of humor. But I would say watch it with an open mind.