Best In Show


Directed by: Christopher Guest
Written by:Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy
Starring: Christopher Guest, Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, John Michael Higgins
Released: April 12, 2001
Grade: B+

It made its world premiere at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and has been honoured with praise since.  A fictitious documentary, Best In Show is the story of five different dog owners as they prepare their prized pooches and head to Philadelphia for the prestigious 125th Annual Mayflower Dog Show.

All these contestants are different.  Some do it for love, some do it for fame, some do it for money, and some do it for a combination of all three.  I remember laughing heartedly during the film and it brought back memories of Rob Sitch’s The Castle and The Dish.  We have a good chuckle at how simple and idiotic these characters are but we feel and care for them at the same time.

There’s not a lot of story in Best In Show and it’s left to the characters to make the movie.  They are all riotously funny but I have to single out Fred Willard who plays a commentator at the big show.  He knows nothing about dogs and bluffs his way through the broadcast by talking nothing but crap.  Who knew commentating a dog show could be so much fun?

Director and screenwriter Christopher Guest is a leader in the independent film world.  In his career to date, Guest has directed films such as Waiting For Guffman, written and composed for films such as This Is Spinal Tap, and provided small acting roles in a string of films including A Few Good Men and The Princess Bride.  Not only that, he’s featured as a regular comedy writer for America’s Saturday Night Live.  Assisting Guest in the screenwriting department is the equally talented and fellow co-star Eugene Levy who many will know as Jim’s dad in American Pie.

If you haven’t heard of Best In Show prior to this, you’re not alone.  With TV ads flogging everything from Say It Isn’t So to Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles, a smaller release will undoubtedly be swamped by the competition.  As a nominee for best comedy at the Golden Globes, best director at the Independent Spirit Awards and best screenplay at the Writers Guild, Best In Show doesn’t deserve to be overlooked.  If you’re looking for comedy that doesn’t have jokes about cats giving blowjobs and guys wrestling crocodiles, this could be the perfect Easter movie for you.