Published Jan 01, 2006Whether it's on the strength of a pseudo Spinal Tap reunion, or the reputation that Christopher Guest and his ensemble have built with past efforts Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show, A Mighty Wind is a "get what you came for" effort.
Actor/director Christopher Guest once again assembles the loose collective of comic improvisers that have populated his films, including Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Fred Willard and lots more. While previous efforts chronicled small-town theatre and dog shows, here it's a 30-years-later reunion of three different folk groups whose fictional influence was briefly felt in 1963 and '64. (One group, the Folksmen, is comprised of Guest, McKean and Harry Shearer, thus collecting the Spinal Tap principles on stage together again.)
Like in all his films, Guest gets the biggest laughs from the subtle character details that all these skilled comedians insert into their characters. The premise itself ooh, these folkies are out of touch, isn't it funny that folk music was popular is possibly his thinnest yet. It's also his oldest, in terms of demographic even audiences in their 30s will be stretching to get all the Greenwich Village and Harry Smith Folk Anthology jokes that are peppered throughout. Guest clearly has a lot of affection for this period, and by extension, for these characters, especially for Eugene Levy's folk burnout Mitch, whose descent after breaking up with his partner Mickey (Catherine O'Hara) is one of the film's highlights. (Although improvisation is always encouraged, underrated genius Levy co-wrote the script with Guest.)
And while there are many good, giggle-worthy titbits along the way, the climax of the film, the reunion concert, is played with greater love and fewer laughs. It's a bit too gentle compared to the scathing satire Guest and his cast have gone for in the past, but well worth it for the journey that gets you there. (Warner)