I'm a gigantic "Waiting for Guffman" fan. I also really liked "Best In
Show." I thought "A Mighty Wind," while not great, was creative and
tender. I saw "For Your Consideration" today and while there were funny
moments peppered throughout, the film comes off as half-baked. I sat
there until the last credit rolled trying to like this film, and
I appreciate that so many actors have joined up with Guest to be in his
movies, but there are now so many Guest "regulars" that there is barely
any character development. "A Mighty Wind" tried to remedy this by
giving each character one big quirk. "Consideration" seems to use this
tactic sparingly... both a blessing and a curse. What I miss is the
intimacy of "Guffman," where we got to know 5-6 characters very well.
"Consideration" comes off less as an ensemble cast, and more as a long
string of cameos.
Catherine O'Hara gives a brilliant, nuanced performance~ I wish we had
gotten to know more about her character.
*Definitely spoilers here!* As other reviewers have pointed out,
"Consideration" has a very similar ending to "Guffman." But whereas the
ending of "Guffman" is somewhat bemusing (Corky talking about his
shop), I thought the ending of "Consideration" was cruel, predictable,
I usually enjoy Chris Guest's movies and I would consider myself a fan
of Chris Guest. However, sometimes his movies get repetitive. I
remember seeing "Best in Show" and feeling like most of the jokes were
just variations on things he had already done in "Waiting for Guffman."
Objectively speaking, the same could be said for "For Your
Consideration", although this film abandons the overt documentary style
of most of his other films. The whole film is building up to this
moment of the Academy Awards, just as "Guffman" is building up to the
premiere and to the arrival of Guffman. The Awards and Guffman are both
symbolic of a transformative figure who will change the protagonists'
lives from something ordinary into something really extraordinary.
Likewise the question of who will win the dog show, or of the big folk
revival concert in "A Mighty Wind." But the mere presence of a formula
does not really mean anything; what's interesting is what the director
and writer do with the formula. And it's interesting how Guest and Levy
in this series of collaborations have created sympathetic characters
despite so many negatives that he shows us, so many really stark
personality flaws in his major characters such as the Catherine O'Hara
character in this film. I think the fact that these characters are
waiting for their "breakthrough" and we as the audience are pretty sure
that they will never get it, actually builds the sympathy for them.
Speaking of O'Hara, I'm probably the 1000th person to say it but she
probably deserved some actual Academy consideration for this film.
She's always been good in his films and in other material but this just
blew them all away. And it's very fascinating how that actual
accomplishment in performance mirrors the satiric story that is being
enacted in the film. I also really loved Harry Shearer in this movie.
He is, to use a much abused phrase, a national treasure. He truly is.
This was his most significant and most entertaining role in a Chris
Guest movie since the Rob Reiner directed "Spinal Tap."
There's bound to be people who don't enjoy this movie. It's not the
kind of humor that really lends itself to many "laugh out loud"
moments. What it does do is blur the line between drama and comedy very
effectively. Just last night I saw the Ben Stiller movie "Tropic
Thunder" -- a similar movie in that it's a satiric look at movie-making
and actors' egos. I really enjoyed the movie a lot, almost as much as
"For Your Consideration" -- but Chris Guest's dry humor carries more
weight and makes for more significant characterizations and
performances. I laughed a lot more at "Thunder" but I'm not sure if I
consider it truly funnier. The humor in "Consideration" is somehow
deeper than even what you'd see in a typical Coen Brothers movie. It's
not just about irony or absurdity.... there's a kind of humor in
sadness, in recognizing how limited our lives are in comparison to our
aspirations. And that's the nerve that Chris Guest's best movies, like
this one, not only "touch" but grab and rattle..