Best in Show 8/10
Best in Show (PG-13) 2000
Reviewer’s Tilt (7)
Special DVD Features worth a look-Deleted scenes
Mockumentary screenwriter Christopher Guest (This is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman) brings us a satirical look at another twisted enclave of Americana. Best in Show features five groups of dysfunctional families living vicariously through their dogs and dog shows. While the script itself may be a little uneven, the seasoned cast’s adroit improvisation and impeccable timing hide most of the blemishes. In sending up everything from dominatrix lesbians to neurotic attorneys, this movie slaughters many sacred cows, showing no mercy to any lifestyle. The stereotypes are so far over the top, so noone should take offense. Despite being parodies of various lifestyles, however, there is just enough underlying truth to give the comedy a rather smart edge.
The film does have some very funny lines, but the real beauty lies in the skillful improvisation. The actors are not spontaneously witty in character, but they flawlessly set up and feed off each other. This seamless interplay creates an undercurrent of constantly flowing humor, which fills in the interstices in the script. Standouts in this talented cast include Parker Posey, John Michael Higgins, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Michael McKean. Posey plays Meg, the neurotic attorney taking out her marital frustrations on an Asian pet storeowner, while Higgins plays a gay dog trainer that would make Liberace blush. Levy, O’Hara and McKean take the opposite route, garnering laughs with subtlety and timing. Pay particular note to Fred Willard’s amusing performance as the politically incorrect half-wit of a dog show announcer and Eugene Levy’s reactions to the running joke about his wife’s past relationships. The movie is worth the watch if for no other reason than the Willard’s obliviousness and Levy’s puzzlement.
Format: Color, Widescreen Anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Extras: Director/Actor audio commentary, deleted scenes with commentary, dogs and their owners featurette, cast bios, TV spots, trailer.