Guest & co. spoof themselves

For Your Consideration

on November 17, 2006 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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Director Christopher Guest, the genius behind the uproarious fake documentaries Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, switches gears somewhat with this more straightforward feature about a motley group of actors and what happens when Oscar buzz begins to swirl around the low-budget, independent picture they're shooting. But don't worry: For Your Consideration, though uneven, is still chockfull of the low-key charm, smart performances and understated humor that are Guest's hallmarks.

Take a gander at its movie-within-the-film: Called Home for Purim, the Southern melodrama set in the ‘40s revolves around a Jewish family gathering for one last time with their terminally ill matriarch. The title itself is an inspired joke since Purim is one of Judaism's less significant holidays and certainly one that doesn't involve the family coming together from far and wide. The flick's a hoot and some of its scenes, utilizing correct Yiddish phrases and a very witty Purim song, are inspired inventiveness.

Less successful is its surrounding story, where the cast begins to turn against each other when only some of them are singled out for Hollywood's highest praise. Guest's previous movies mined virgin territory, such as dog shows and the folk music scene, to great effect. For Your Consideration 's lampooning of Ebert & Roeper, Inside the Actor's Studio and Entertainment Tonight, while often funny, just isn't as fresh, as it's been done in everything from TV's The Critic to Being John Malkovich, which is why some of those gags quickly fall flat.

Guest also seems to have a less than generous view of his own craft--he acts in his own movies, too, here as the overwrought director of Home for Purim. He condescended to the small-town thespians in his Waiting for Guffman and in For Your Consideration indulges in some mean-spirited mocking of his characters, which leaves a sour taste. Fortunately, his regular cast of actors and a few new ones, such as the British Office 's Ricky Gervais, bring their best to the table. Their performances--in particular Parker Posey as an ambitious, insecure young actress; Eugene Levy as a clueless agent; and Fred Willard a sheer delight as the unctuous host of an entertainment program called Hollywood Now --are the comedic glue that holds this often scattershot and unfocused film together. Distributor: Warner Independent
Cast: Harry Shearer, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey and Fred Willard
Director: Christopher Guest
Screenwriters: Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy
Producer: Karen Murphy
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13 for sexual references and brief language
Running time: 86 min.
Release Date: November 17, 2006

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