For Your Consideration **
I really am not a big fan of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries. I hated "A Mighty Wind" and had to turn off "Best in Show" partially in. I didn't even bother with "Waiting for Guffman." So I found it pretty fruitless to go out and see "For Your Consideration," which for the record is the first Guest film that is not a straight mockumentary. It is an attempt at narrative, and a weak one at that, because at times I still felt like I was watching a mockumentary. I just couldn't find a difference. But I thought I'd give it the benefit of the doubt. You never know, and once again I was let down by all the talent here. You would think that some of my favorite comedians all working on the same project would be something that would be met with joy and amazement. Instead, half of this was painful to watch and I was grateful for it's short running time.
"For Your Consideration" is a satirical attempt at the Oscars, and all the hustle and bustle that goes with the season. We are introduced to Marilyn Hack(Catherine O' Hara), an older actress that never really hit it big. She is starring in the new film "Home for Purim," a dysfunctional family drama that takes place during the Jewish holiday of Purim-or Thanksgiving as it is compared to later on. Co-starring with her is Victor Allan Miller(Harry Shearer), another vet actor who has been spending the last few years playing in television advertisements as Herb the Foot Long Weiner. Directed by extremely Jewish man Jay Berman(played by Christopher Guest himself who is constantly eating something), it also stars off screen lovers Callie Webb(Parker Posey) and Brian Chubb(Christopher Moynihan). Eventually, Marilyn is told by someone working on the film that he read online that there was suddenly buzz on her performance for an Oscar, and one for Victor as well. Suddenly this little film is getting attention from everybody, including the head of the studio(Ricky Gervais) who wants to tone down the "Jewishness" to appeal to a wider audience. And as the Oscar's approach, the success and news begins to go to the veterans heads. Marilyn gets plastic surgery done to the point where she appears to be constantly smiling, and Victor begins to make appearances in MTV-like shows for teenagers that have probably never even heard of him. But will all of this work even lead to a nomination?
There are a few worthy stabs at Hollywood, but on the whole "For Your Consideration" is another weak attempt from Guest. There were a few things that actually made me smile. One is Jane Lynch and Fred Willard as a duo of celebrity gossip news reporters ala "Access Hollywood." Clad in ridiculous costumes for the occasion(like dressing up like a genie with a crystal ball on Oscar predication days) Willard and Lynch play their characters(or caricatures in this case) with such perfection. I also got some laughs from the two film critics, with one guy always loving the movie and the other always hating it. And lastly, once again John Michael Higgins proves that he's someone special as he steals every scene he's in(which he also did for the dreadful "The Break Up" earlier in the year.) And that's pretty much it. Everything else was so obvious, from the cheesy agent who is always calling everyone his number one client, and then takes a phone call from someone else, to the entire romance between Posey and Chubb which was made even worse when the Oscar buzz caused them to break up. There's the unfunny producer, played by the awful Jennifer Coolidge, who is always trying to put the attention onto herself. And then there's Michael McKean and Bob Balaban as the screenwriters of "Home for Purim" who must contend with all the changes that the director is enforcing, until the finished product is vastly different from how they envisioned it.
To make matters worse, the final ending is an extreme let down. In the last five minutes or so we get a little finale with each of the four stars of "Home for Purim," and each one does not give the right closure to the characters at all. Especially Parker Posey, whose final scene involves her one woman show which is so god-awful and horribly unfunny that it became difficult to watch. And there was Marilyn's ending, which actually ends the movie. Catherine O'Hara played Marilyn very well, to the point where we care about her and are upset at the road that she goes down on the "trip to stardom." Sadly, the ending to her story is as weak as all the others, and any impression that Guest was trying to make was lost on me. I was just ready to go home and not sit through the end credits(which were ironically enough the song "Hooray for Hollywood.) I have a feeling that I'll be skipping Guest's next venture unless he wises up and makes something somewhat original.