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Best In Show

Are you familiar with Christopher Guest? His now infamous This Is Spinal Tap (which he wrote-Rob Reiner directed) exposed his style of off-the-cuff improvisational barely scripted, sarcastic pokes at the stuffy documentary- the "mocumentary." Then he came up with Waiting For Guffman (hunt it down like a rabid wallaby -if you have not seen it). Now Guest turns his visceral eyeballs towards the seemingly innocent lives behind a dog show. Actually, the pomp and stance, behemoth egos, whacko human natures and pathetic clueless lower echelon of intelligence behind the dog show.

Chris follows his tried and true MO ; getting comedy/acting talent together on a set, giving them the theme and concept, then rolling the film. Guest is creating not movie kucka, as you may fear, but unique and down right funny stufaamahgawll.

Story goes...Philadelphia is hosting a big time doggie show- The Mayflower Kennel Club Show. We lucky viewers get to go behind the scenes and meet the contestants-Guest style.

There's dog owner/contestant Harlan Pepper (Baron-legit, not just to get better seating at Emeril's-Christopher Guest ) who's not a bright watted bulb. He dimly recites various nuts of the world and other hit-your-head-against-a-wall dullities till your pleading for another Gore/Bush debate for the excitement of their oratorical deliveries! Harlan's duuulll. Physically, Guest makes him a walking L.L. Bean catalog (though Harlan wouldn't even know what L.L. Bean was- a tropical nut in the vanilla family perhaps?). Pepper is proud as a cock at an all gal chicken farm over his award winning Bloodhound-who has telepathic powers...mmkay?

We also meet the Flecks. Gerry Fleck (Eugene " Caterpillar Brow" Levy ) and Cookie Fleck (Catherine "Still a Looker" O'Hara) are middle-class tack- infested- city hillbilles- with- better home-bumpkins from Florida. Their small odd world revels around their spoiled Terrier, Winky. The Fleck's counterparts ( O'Hara and Levy) happen to be a couple of my all time favorite comedians- enjoy the magic.

I should mention this again...Best In Show's "script" was strictly a storyboard outline- no concrete dialog. The actors ad libbed their lines- bouncing off each other with rapid precision (like Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe 200 miles north of Sydney-about now). I'd like to see Adam Sandler attempt that- well, and actually BE FUNNY.

We also get to meet the Swans. Meg (Parker Posey ) and Hamilton (Michael Hitchcock) who are just plane old neurosis filled vials of human phlegm. They are frighteningly identifiable. Two completetly self-absorbed- Latte lite sipping- Crew wearing-designer condom flushing-whack jobs unaware of their own idiosyncrasies and obsessive compulsions-then, be fair, isn't everyone? Tearjerkingly funny characters!

Loving couple Scott (John Michael Higgins) and his lover Stefan (Michael McKean) are true scene stealers. Call them caricatures with soul. What is it about gay males that is just so cool? Sure they redecorate their hotel room for a two night stay, sure they pack fifteen Kimonos for the weekend-who doesn't ...but what is it...Oh, yeah, they too love men. Tall men, short men, manly men with bulging ...Sorry. They have a shitzonyou, er Shitzu in the competition.

Guest takes two more American stereo types and sautés them up for your fancy. The quintessential gold digger-ala Anna Nicole Smith, a Sheri Ann Ward Cabot (Jennifer "Puffy Lips" Coolidge) married to a one- foot- in -the- grave fossil , with her androgynous is-she-or- isn't- she-a clam-digger dog handler, Christy (Jane Lynch). The trio have a standard POODLE- natch-in the show.

Smaller parts are also played to perfection by some familiar faces...Larry Miller as a rude and crass one-of-a-gizzilion ex-lovers of Cookie Fleck. Fred Willard as a straight faced all around jackass who narrates the proceedings at the show. Many more peek in...
Any good looking men you ask? Guest is a studly man kabob- but he's been married forever to perky Jamie Lee Curtis- she'd kick our buttocks real good if we so much as softly tickled the man on the side of his strong jawed facial area with our over zealous tongues. You can ogle at Levy (above with O'Hara)...Now Eugene's what I call a full- fat- heavy- cream- man soufflé gals...be good no hootin' and hollarin' and the theater now.

Sorry Charlies-not a babe in the whole darn thing-your plum outta luck thisin' time around.

If your into Guest's past endeavors, run, go, rent. If not, be his guest at a fresh- funny- fantastic kind of movie making.

Snack Recommendation: Fried Fish and walnuts.

Starring: Christopher Guest, Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, John Michael Higgins, Michael McKean, Patrick Cranshaw, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch , Bob Balaban, Don Lake, Jim Piddock, Fred Willard, and Ed Begley Jr.

Directed by: Christopher Guest

Written by: Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy ( though mostly ad libbed by the extraordinary cast)

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