For Your Consideration

The magic is gone. Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, and their talented group of actor/comedian friends strike a sour note with For Your Consideration, a send-up of Hollywood. This comes upon the heels of A Mighty Wind, Best in Show, and Waiting for Guffman (the legendary This is Spinal Tap isn't always included because it had a different director and lacks many of the principal characters, but is along the same lines), mockumentary films written and directed by Guest and co-written by Eugene Levy (Over the Hedge, Curious George) where the script was just a shell, and the actors improvised most of the lines. Folk music and dog shows are ripe for satire and mockery. Hollywood is not. Primarily because people have poked fun of Hollywood for years, and at times, it is already a walking parody of itself.

With this mind, Guest and his talented crew have little to do except take tired pot shots at the establishments. It's really sad, because these people are such good actors and can be so funny. Instead, they run around filming a movie called Home for Purim, about a Jewish family reuniting to celebrate Purim. The mother, played by Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara, Monster House, Over the Hedge) is very sick, and wants her daughter, played by Callie Webb (Parker Posey, Superman Returns, The Oh in Ohio) to come home. She doesn't know that Webb's character is a lesbian. Purim is a small movie, and things get out of control when a few entertainment shows toss around the idea that Hack may get an Oscar.

From there, everything begins to spiral out of control. Egos are on the rise, and behind-the-scenes issues threaten to derail the movie. Unlike the other films, this one was run more like a typical production. There was still a lot of improvisation, but the script outline was longer. The cast also ballooned, and it feels like Guest included everybody he knew. What this does is turn For Your Consideration more into a standard Hollywood comedy. It doesn't feel very spontaneous, or fresh or original for that matter. There are so many people on screen that only a few get choice lines. Most of these happen in the last third of the film, and go to O'Hara and the ever-dependable Fred Willard (Monster House, Date Movie).

Otherwise, For Your Consideration feels like a movie where all the actors feel much more clever than they are.  The movie drags for its beginning, then, after the initial Oscar buzz, jumps ahead, skipping much of production.  Guest tries to tackle too much, aiming for a scattershot affect at lampooning everybody, when he should have had more focus (for example, just focusing on the nominations rather than the actual filming).  Sycophantic agents and clueless producers are not new, and unfortunately, great comedians like Harry Shearer (Chicken Little, A Mighty Wind), Jane Lynch (Talladega Nights, The 40-Year Old Virgin) and Michael McKean (The Producers, A Mighty Wind) are left with little to grasp onto.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 26 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual references and brief language.

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