Wednesday, January 09, 2008

For Your Consideration

For Your Consideration (2006) directed by Christopher Guest, involves the same group of actors and writers involved in Spinal Tap¸ Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and other satiric films. The humor is droll and sometimes corny. These films take aim at specific groups of people and activities—overhyped rock bands, animal shows, folksingers, and Hollywood. The target here is the film industry and the battling egos at its core. The actors and agents and producers and directors portrayed here are mostly second- and third-rate individuals who have worked in the industry for years, hoping for a break. The satire is biting but mostly gentle. Guest and his actors show compassion for the people they portray. The main focus of this film is an actress, Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) who hears a rumor that she may be nominated for an academy award. The rumor spreads throughout Hollywood and soon everyone is talking about it, congratulating her, and she begins imagining how life may be after the nomination. Others in the film hope to be nominated as well. The film shows their preening vanity, the ways they pretend not to care when in fact they care a great deal. We are not spared their agony when they learn that, after all, the nominations didn't come through.

The trouble with this film is that most of the characters are fairly pathetic figures. They will never rise to the level of fame and stardom they aspire to, they're condemned to mediocrity and nothing more, and none of them can quite allow themselves to believe it. They're not as genuinely funny, or deserving of satire, as the characters in Best in Show, nor can Guest and his actors muster the kind of genuine interest and nostalgic fondness that tempers the satire and comedy in A Mighty Wind. The characters in For Your Consideration are simply not that interesting.

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