BEST IN SHOW (2000) 

Christopher Guest
Parker Posey
Michael Hitchcock
Eugene Levy
Catherine O'Hara
Michael McKean
John Michael Higgins
Jane Lynch
Jennifer Coolidge
Fred Willard

Christopher Guest



Time: 89 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy

I'm a huge fan of Christopher Guest's work and was very excited when I learned his next film was coming out. Being a dog lover, I couldn't wait to see his latest mockumentary about the professional dog show circuit. Filled with his regular cast of characters, I was hoping for a send-up like his last film, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN. Though similar in style and cleverness, BEST IN SHOW lacks the cohesiveness of plot and heart of GUFFMAN. That being said it's every bit as funny. To tell this tale, Guest settles on five owners and their pooches – the J-Crew obsessed, neurotic over-achievers and their Weimaraner; the Southern fish-and-tackle store owner and his Bloodhound; the rich gold-digger and her lesbian dog-trainer with the champion standard poodle; the white trash couple with their Norwich terrier; and the flamboyantly gay couple with their Shih Tzus. All of them have a story to tell about how they came together with each other and their dogs, who are an extension of their personalities and their families. In fact, for most of them. their dogs are their children and they are not about to raise losers.

The most important thing to all of them is to have their dog win the Mayflower "Best in Show" title. They pretend it's for the dog's self-esteem, but it's clear that winning this title is the only thing they deem worth striving for in their lives. If they could just secure that blue ribbon, their lives would have meaning, they'd be important. These people will do anything for a win and their behavior is pretty outrageous. We join them all as they each journey to Philadelphia, learning about their lives along the way. The pace and humor picks up a notch during the actual dog show due to the performance of Fred Willard, who is crude and hysterical as one of the event's announcers. You won't believe the things coming out of his mouth and it's a miracle his announcing partner, played by Jim Piddock, could get a word in edgewise, never mind keep a straight face.

"We could just not talk or talk forever, and still find things to not talk about."

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara spawn some of the biggest laughs as Cookie and Gerry Fleck. Though he loves Cookie, Gerry is having a hard time dealing with her libidinous past, which apparently contains hundreds and hundreds of liaisons. Everywhere they go, they run into an ex-lover who fondly remembers Cookie and her assets. Parker Posey also has some stellar moments as her character, Meg Swan, tries desperately to find her nervous dog's favorite toy. She and her husband, played by Michael Hitchcock, place all their dreams and aspirations of success on their poor dog, who decides she wants no part of their dreams. Theirs is the film's most dysfunctional and bitter relationship, which includes several moments where you're sure you shouldn't be laughing but end up giggling anyway. The other characters, even Guest's own southern boy, are fairly stereotypical, though the actors make them all witty and engaging. It's just a shame Guest didn't take more time to flesh them out.

BEST IN SHOW is a clever movie and a great way to pass the time, especially if you're a dog lover. Christopher Guest has a way of making films that reflect real life, bringing out the humor in the most normal situations. If you're a fan of comedy, you should not miss his flicks. They are filled with moments you will never forget.

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