Christopher Guest the cinematic genius who defined the ‘mockumentary’ movie genre, is back on the big screen after a 10 year absence. This time his sardonic humor is aimed squarely at the rather bizarre culture of furry sports mascots, and in which bares more than a passing resemblance to Guest’s take on the dog world in his superb 2000 movie ‘Best in Show‘. It reunites most of his usual ensemble of gifted actors like Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Bob Balaban and John Micheal Higgins plus a few new faces such as the talented Irish actor Chris O’Dowd. Missing this time is actor Eugene Levy who was also Guest’s co-writer, and taking his place on and off the screen is British writer/actor Jim Piddick who was also the co-creator with Guest of the HBO TV series Family Tree.
The premise of the very lightweight story is the occasion of the annual World Mascot Championships, which the motley crew of ‘furries’ take deadly serious. Each of them has to perform a variety act in a sparsely attended show which organizer Langton Aubrey (Michael Hitchcock) hopes will be good enough so that next year it will televised by The Gluten Free Channel. Their goal is to win a coveted Furry Award to prove that they are the best in the World.
Nothing is scared to Guest, and in the monologues said straight to camera in deadpan fashion, each of the characters hilariously take aim at a whole range of bizarre holy cows. Often the jokes fall a tad flat, but when they hit the target, they are gloriously funny.
Guests’s films are decidedly an acquired taste, and part of the joy is the whole array of eccentric characters he creates with his cast who can be relied on to give such superlative performances which are a real highlight. Most of them, especially the ones who have to don the furry costumes, are happy enough to shed any trace of dignity, to play these outlandish parts to the extreme.
The movies have a cult following and have never really crossed into mainstream audience, but maybe now as this latest one is produced by Netflix, it will get a much wider exposure. However even though Mascots is by no means Guest’s best, it will still totally delight his ardent fans who have been starved of his work for far too long.
Labels: 2016, Christopher Guest, comedy