- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

We get the feeling Christopher Guest’s stock company could wake from a deep sleep, stumble onto the set and still make us laugh.

The minds behind “Best in Show” (2000) and “A Mighty Wind” (2003) are back with the wickedly sharp and seasonally appropriate “For Your Consideration.”

Mr. Guest opened our eyes to improv comedy before Larry David’s HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and few leverage the format with such consistent glee. “Consideration” is further proof of his players’ ad hoc excellence, even if its Oscar satire stumbles in its waning moments.

A cast of barely B-listers is toiling on an indie drama named “Home for Purim” when a crew hand starts leaking gossip to a movie Web site. The leaker thinks lead actress Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) is turning in Oscar-caliber work, and his biased opinion sets off a chain reaction in La-La Land.

Soon, entertainment reporters are stalking the “Purim” set, and the Oscar buzz spreads to other cast members.

The actors couldn’t be happier — but only for themselves. Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer) thinks he can finally leave his day job — as a talking hot dog — behind, and his oblivious agent (Eugene Levy) is suddenly taking Victor seriously.

Director Jay Berman (Mr. Guest) isn’t as elated. The studio, sensing a hit on its hands, starts monkeying with his film to make it appeal to a broader audience. And isn’t a Jewish-themed weeper going to alienate teens and Christians alike?

“For Your Consideration” showcases the usual Guest cohorts, including Michael McKean, Fred Willard and Parker Posey, each transcending their limited screen time.

While the potshots aimed at the acting community may be too insular to play in flyover country, the broader send-up of our popular culture is often telling. If we’re not laughing at some of the gags, it’s likely because the real Hollywood is so perilously close to Mr. Guest’s cartoon image.

The saddest laughs come when Marilyn endures an extreme makeover to appear more youthful. She ends up the spitting image of Jocelyn Wildenstein, the society diva dubbed the Cat Woman by cruel tabloids.

Not every element in “Consideration” is Guest-worthy. The collaborators whiff with a subplot involving fatuous movie critics. How they failed to hammer those blowhards, we’ll never know.

And “Consideration” wraps not with comic thunder but with a downer denouement that feels like a smudged first draft.

“For Your Consideration” isn’t belly laugh material. Leave those convulsions to “Borat.”

It’s simply another smart, sophisticated satire from a team of comedy all-stars who seemingly can do no wrong.


TITLE: “For Your Consideration”

RATING: PG-13 (Some adult language and sexual references)

CREDITS: Directed by Christopher Guest. Written by Mr. Guest and Eugene Levy.

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

WEB SITE: https://wip.warnerbros.com/foryourconsideration/


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