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"For Your Consideration"

Directed by Christopher Guest.
Written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.
Starring Catherine O'Hara, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey and Christopher Guest.

Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  11/28/06


After having a hand in writing and/or directing "This is Spinal Tap", "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show", I am afraid I will be walking away from the Christopher Guest Gravy Train because "For Your Consideration" was near-total dogshit.

And, if you can imagine this, seeing the trailer actually hurts you here, because what few good laughs there are in Guest's newest flick, "For Your Consideration", are given away in the trailer, like the Fred Willard character's strange hairdo or the funny lines of white-guy-but-one-eighth-American-Indian Corey Taft (John Michael Higgins, who almost saved "The Break-Up" from being total dogshit by himself).  This go-round, the huge cast of regulars in Guest's movies are part of what appears to be a really bad gay-love wartime drama, "Home for Purim", written by playwrights Philip Koontz (Bob Balaban) and Lane Iverson (Michael McKean) and directed by Jay Berman (Guest).  Somehow, one of the film's stars, aging starlet Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara), has been garnering buzz on the Internet for her performance as the dying family matriarch...and, after a long career of zero recognition, she approaches her work with a new zeal.  This only picks up steam from there...former hotdog pitchman Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer) also starts to generate the buzz, as does one member of the imaginary film's gay lover duo, Callie Webb (Parker Posey).  The rest of the way, we get to find out if the Academy loves these stars or not when the nominations are announced.

I saw this is a roughly-50%-full house in Bethesda this week; it was easy to gauge the crowd reaction as I was sitting there and then leaving as decidedly unhappy and/or not laughing at all.  There were probably only three or four moments where there was even a low murmur after things that were clearly meant to be funny were spoken by members of the cast.  "Best in Show" was one of the best comedies of the decade, certainly a top-10 member when I consider the sheer number of belly laughs that occurred for me during the presentation.  Almost all of the characters were funny, the script was fantastic and the end dog show (hosted by Willard, in what is still my favorite role of his) was pure genius.  Then came "A Mighty Wind", which I liked but I think I liked more because it was done by Guest; even now, I am having a hard time remembering why I was laughing during "A Mighty Wind", and I think part of that was that kind of hope laughter that occurs when you expect genius (think anytime you go see a Will Ferrell movie now) and are left with mediocrity.  "For Your Consideration" doesn't even give you that.

I don't even feel like talking about this movie just wasn't very good, especially when you consider the pedigree of the Guest/Levy/McKean/Shearer combination.  Ugh.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09