FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: SELF INDULGENT FILM
Best in Show. Hilarious. A Mighty Wind. Really funny. For Your Consideration. Absolutely painful. Christopher Guest continues his tradition with his gang of actors and mocking humor in this spoof of a film and its actors being considered for the Oscar race. But rather than using the subtle humor that he has in the past, he goes for the obvious and succeeds in making a movie that is hard to watch. If you are knowledgeable about the movie business, it comes across as a scathing attack on the industry.
Home for Purim is a period piece being made with a relatively unknown cast. Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) plays the matriarch in the family who is dying. Her husband is played by Victor Allen Miller (Henry Shearer). Both have been acting for a long time but have yet to make it big. Marilyn isn’t recognized by the guard at the studio as she enters the lot. Victor is most famous for playing a hot dog in commercials. There is Callie Webb (Parker Posey), who plays there daughter Rachel. Callie started off in standup with a one woman show but was awful. When somebody tells Marilyn that they heard that she might get an Oscar nod for her performance, her neuroses comes to a head as she begins to tell everybody on the set. When the internet supports more Oscar nods might also come to the other actors, the film gets coverage by the news shows. These news shows include a send-up of Entertainment Tonight.
The story is the same format the Guest has used in the past but in a different setting. But the humor isn’t there. It is over the top with the extremes he and Eugene Levy (co-writer) takes these characters. When the hype for Marilyn becomes stronger and stronger, she has plastic surgery done. But not just a little Botox. It is to point where you wonder if Catherine O’Hara really had some done. Eugene Levy plays Victor Allen Miller’s agent. In the beginning of the movie Victor can’t get a hold of him to discuss other jobs. But when the buzz starts about a possible nomination, he is right by his side. The predictability of this character is sad. The acting is fine, but only because these actors have played these characters more than once. Catherine O’Hara is always disturbed with little range. Parker Posey is always in your face with her eccentricities. She expresses this with her body language while keeping a deadpan face. Henry Shearer as Victor Allen Miller is the only likeable character. I attribute this to him toning it down. Guest makes sure that the audience has no doubt that he is getting personal with this parody.
From the set of the movie, to the agent’s office, the news shows, and the actor’s Spanish style houses, there is no doubt you are in Hollywood and that he means business.
Subtlety would have brought this film up to the level of past Guest films. Everything is in your face where you don’t even get a chance to interpret what is being said to you. Light mocking humor is a niche for Guest and he lost his way on this one.
Trying to recreate what has he has done before but on a movie set, Christopher Guest doesn’t achieve the silliness he has succeeded with his other films. He tried too hard on For Your Consideration and it shows.