Thursday, November 24, 2011

Waiting for Guffman (1997)


From the makers of This Is Spinal Tap and Best in Show comes this classic and hilarious homage to community theatre.  Which means that viewers have a pretty good idea going in whether they'll like it or not. Christopher Guest films have a definite flavor.  You know what you're going to get.

Guest, as usual, relies heavily on improvisation.  Fortunately, he also relies on an impressive lineup of usual suspects--Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Parker Posy, Bob Balaban, Michael Hitchcock, and Larry Miller.  They are more than equal to the task, and the results are nothing short of hilarious.

Then, too, much credit must be given to the behind the scenes labors of Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, who co-wrote the music for the show-within-a-show "Red, White & Blaine."  While the level of acting in this community theatre troupe is abysmal, the music (and instrumentation) is fantastic--thus allowing the awkward 'actors' to take center stage.  

Having grown up in an around the Midwest (and attended college in small town Missouri) and participated in a number of extremely amateur theatre productions, I have a definite soft spot for this film.  In fact, some of my college friends memorized and performed "Red, White & Blaine" (complete with music and choreography) for a coffeehouse. With memories like that, I can't help but love this movie.

Still, Guest's style of humor is such that I think it translates to those from a more urban, less dramatic background. If you liked any of Guest's other mockumentaries, you might want to give this a shot.

NOTE:  Contains some profanity and adult content, but no sex or violence.  So probably not a family film, but still loads of fun.

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