For Your Consideration (Warner Independent Pictures, PG-13)

film_consideration2Compare this film not to Guest's work, but to every other comedy coming out these days, and you will remember what makes this cast unique, and hopefully, will appreciate that Hollywood still has a few circles with their heads on straight.

 

film_consideration

Christopher Moynihan, Harry Shearer, Catherine O'Hara and Parker Posey in Warner Independent's For Your Consideration  

 

For Your Consideration, Christopher Guest's latest foray into high-speed farce, definitely deserves a bit of yours. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely no Spinal Tap or A Mighty Wind, but don't let the mockumentary diversion sway you from smiling uninterrupted at the not-so-gentle reminder that Hollywood is full of hacks, posers, and the clueless. What Guest and frequent collaborator Eugene Levy touch upon so well here is the intensity with which our psyches and social consciousness get overblown by meaningless hype, turning even the most dedicated artists (albeit untalented ones, wink wink) into frivolous puppets.

Accompanied by his usual suspects, in addition to a few notable newbies (most notably a welcome supporting role for dry expert Ricky Gervais, as an unapologetic studio head), Guest plays the worthless director of Home for Purim, a film within the film about a dying Jewish mother in the 1940s South. The lead role belongs to the never-better Catherine O'Hara as Marilyn Hack (subtlety be damned!), a weathered thespian whose simple world gets turned upside down by an Internet forum mention of her Oscar worthiness. Bring on the collagen and the aging cleavage (of which Fred Willard, in all of his one-line glory compares to "staring into the Grand Canyon"), as Hack and her cast mates, played by veteran Guestians Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, and Christopher Moynihan, fall victim to the empty buzz traps created by the vacant minds of Access Hollywood-esque shows and interviews. Soon, Gervais is suggesting that head writers Michael McKean and Bob Balaban "tone down" the film's Jewishness, leaving everyone involved at the mercy of award-season propaganda.

Despite a script that lacks as many gut-busting jokes as Guest's previous films, For Your Consideration maintains a similar tone, as well as the hilarious subtleties employed time and again by the familiar ensemble. John Michael Higgins is fabulous as the well meaning, yet essentially out-of-his-league publicist; Posey's overboard feminist artistry is a riot, and Jane Lynch's pop-news anchor posturing is timeless. Throw in Levy, Willard, a pleasantly stiff Rachael Harris, and the always-gooberish Jennifer Coolidge as a bleached producer, and you've got a recipe for a film that will at least keep your chuckles going. For the true fans…well, it just depends how cynical you are. The open-minded will laugh out loud at the actors' undeniable charm, and the skeptics may lambaste Guest's abandonment of his tried-and-true mockumentary style.

To the latter, I urge you to compare this film not to Guest's work, but to every other comedy coming out these days, and you will remember what makes this cast unique, and hopefully, will appreciate that Hollywood still has a few circles with their heads on straight. If anything, enjoy how good these actors are at being bad. Compare them, perhaps, to a blind prostitute, because hey! You've gotta hand it to 'em! (Props to Mr. Willard.) | Dave Jasmon

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply