Waiting for Guffman

Year: 1996
Production Co: Castle Rock Entertainment
Director: Christopher Guest
Writer: Christopher Guest/Eugene Levy
Cast: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Larry Miller, David Cross, Bob Balaban

Like the films of Robert Altman, you know just what you're in for when you see a Christopher Guest movie, and his consistency means you're never disappointed.

His films have two levels. The first is the premise - he always centres on a small group of people there's nothing inherently wrong with or uncool about except that they're just so wrong and uncool, inhabiting a world we're all slightly embarrassed to admit exists so close to our own. If it isn't a bunch of self-important Hollywood types with little real talent working on an awful movie (A Mighty Wind).

The second is the dialogue. Like the premise, nobody's self-consciously funny. His mockumentary style has never wavered in his films, and it's a winning formula - take a bunch of earnest, honest people who are just slightly off kilter with reality and give their characters free reign to create the comedy.

We meet the inhabitants of a Blaine, Missouri - the sort of place they have $15,000 for their entire annual town budget - where the locals are putting on a theatrical production to celebrate a big town anniversary.

A camp New York theatre director (Guest) has them all in his thrall when he's actually a way off Broadway has-been, and the various aspiring players from the perky travel agency owners (O'Hara and Willard) who've never left the state to the Jewish dentist (Levy) line up behind him to make the town's decidedly inauspicious and faintly ridiculous beginnings the subject of a showstopper.

When they learn that a big time theatre critic expects to attend, everyone loses what little perspective they had and egos inflate far beyond the stature involved.

Like the early work of the Zucker brothers, it's just asking for repeat viewings and endless quoting of classic lines like 'it's a Zen thing, like how many babies fit in a tire' or 'People say, you must have been the class clown. And I say, no, I wasn't. But I sat next to the class clown, and I studied him.'

© 2011-2022 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au