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For Your Consideration

Christopher Guest

For Your Consideration
How perfect that Christopher Guest’s new ensemble comedy, which tweaks Hollywood’s Oscar obsession, arrives on DVD in the midst of this year’s shitstorm of hype; how disappointing that it lobs such softballs at this easy target and that it’s largely devoid of the sharp insights that have characterised Guest’s earlier work like Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show. Once again gathering his troupe of improv geniuses, and guided by a script outline co-written with Eugene Levy, Guest takes us through the filming of Home For Purim, a treacly, horrible-looking period piece about lesbian Jews in the early 1940s. After a set visit from an "internet spy,” buzz begins about the performance of the family’s matriarch (Catherine O’Hara) and the whole production gets caught up in it. Never mind that the Academy Awards buzz begins while the film is still shooting, there are so many other missed opportunities here, like the fact that the film is so off-base from what actually gets Oscar buzz, a big whiff at that comic opportunity. Guest gets a busload of good comic moments - from Fred Willard as a faux-hawked entertainment reporter, from Levy as the unscrupulous and incompetent agent, from imported pinch-hitter Ricky Gervais as a meddling network exec. Some of those blows land, most of them glance off, but For Your Consideration has such serious structural problems that the best improv in the world can’t connect these disparate dots. Catherine O’Hara deserves extra mention for her brilliant performance; it’s too bad the movie (and the movie within the movie) let her down. More than 30 minutes of deleted scenes suffer from the same hit-and-miss ratio, while Guest and Levy sit down for a commentary if you care. I didn’t. (Warner)
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