Rated PG-13 (for very brief language)
Starring: Christopher Guest, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Jennifer Coolidge, Ricky Gervais
Rob and I tend to have a warped sense of humor when it comes to movies. We laugh at inappropriate cinematic moments; we pepper our viewings of major blockbusters with sarcastic or sardonic comments; in short, we cannot refrain from going all Crow and Tom Servo on almost every movie we see (and kudos to anyone who knows what I mean when I say MST3K). That's why we love Christopher Guest movies. Best in Show? We still quote that to one another. The way he uses the mockumentary format to skewer the outrageous antics of his subjects is right up our snarky little alley, and we were excited to see his latest work.
I will admit right up front that For Your Consideration (FYC) wasn't my favorite Guest movie, but it was pretty darn funny nonetheless. A Hollywood send-up that would have been great to see right before the Oscars, FYC centers on the low-budget film "Home For Purim," and the hubbub created when some of the D-list actors are mentioned on an internet site as being Academy Award contenders. Catherine O'Hara shines as Marilyn Hack, an aging actress who trudges along and frets over the urge to plasticize herself. It takes a good actress to convincingly play a bad actress, and O'Hara makes it look easy. She plays the long-suffering matriarch in a WW II era southern Jewish family, whose final wish is to see her son and daughter at the table for the celebration of Purim. Harry Shearer, in the role of low-rate commercial actor Victor Allan Miller, plays her husband, and Parker Posey, an up and coming young starlet, plays her rebel daughter Rachel.
Every Hollywood-type personality you can imagine is present, and not a one is spared the Cone of Satire. There is the Director (Guest) who tells the actors, I love that you did all this work, and it will serve you well - just not on this movie; there is the deeply closeted Makeup Artist/Bosom Buddy to Star who goes around swatting at people with a powder puff (a hilarious turn by caftan-clad Ed Begley, Jr.); the Pair of Writers (Bob Balaban and Michael McKean), who are desperately trying (and failing) to preserve the integrity of their script in the face of director, producers, and studio executives; the film's bumbling Publicist (John Michael Higgins) who doesn't even know what the internet is (Is that the one with the e-mail?); the Agent (Eugene Levy) who talks a good game, but doesn't give a rat's patootie about his client; the slick Studio Suit (Ricky Gervais) who wants to tone down Home for Purim's Jewishness, and ends up changing it to Home for Thanksgiving; and so much more. But, perhaps my very favorite of all, are Jane Lynch and Fred Willard as Chuck and Cindy, the Entertainment News Reporters. Their spoof of Access Hollywood/Entertainment Tonight/Insider is too much, mostly because it's true!
Once the actors find out that the awards buzz is out there, they engage in a publicity blitz of mammoth proportions all while maintaining a facade of sang-froid, lest they seem like they want the accolades (it's just an honor to be nominated?). They make the rounds on shows like Chillaxin' (think MTV, VH1); Marilyn gets some "work done" and becomes totally unrecognizable to her costars; their agents negotiate aggressively and fawn over them. Things quickly spiral out of control, just like real life, but I won't spoil the movie by telling who wins and who goes home to do buffalo wings commercials or teach acting classes at community college.
Overall, FYC is a funny, and pointed, look at the film industry, but it seems to bear in mind the fact that this movie itself had to go through the Hollywood machine to get out to the public. It's sarcasm with a tender underbelly, and we give that two big thumbs up around here.