I have generally been a huge fan of Christopher Guest’s improvised ensemble comedies (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show), but For Your Consideration, a nominal satire of independent film production and its relation to Hollywood, is the weakest entry in the series to date.
ON THE ONE HAND: It tells us almost nothing about show biz that we don’t already know. The characters, for the most part, feel thinner and more stereotyped than in the earlier films. Eugene Levy’s smarmy agent is particularly egregious in this regard. Ricky Gervais’s slimy studio executive is not much better. And the movie-within-the-film, Home For Purim, is too ridiculous to be taken seriously, even within this context. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Borat because, compared to the bellylaughs provided by that film, this film seems to provide only a few mild chuckles. The characters – with one major exception – are dim and unsympathetic, and I left the theater feeling more depressed than amused.
ON THE OTHER HAND: If you like Christopher Guest’s films, you probably won’t want to miss this one. Parker Posey is great, as usual. Jane Lynch has a terrific bit as an infotainment hostess playing sidekick to Fred Willard – her body language provided me with the film’s biggest laugh. And finally, the always-wonderful Catherine O’Hara (center, above) gives some kind of break-out performance as the 50-something star of the film-within-a-film whose fading career is momentarily enlivened by Oscar buzz. O’Hara may be known as a comedienne, but here she brings the kind of total commitment to a role that we associate with the best method actors … without sacrificing the comedy! See it for her.