Movie review by Andrea Karen Hammer
Sometimes, you need to watch a comedy to enjoy some guaranteed laughs. For pet and improvisation lovers, Best in Show is the winning ticket.
Viewers are immediately thrust into a therapist’s office, where Meg (Parker Posey) and Hamilton Swan (Michael Hitchcock) are hashing out the trauma of their dog witnessing an intimate moment. The intense pet fixation of this J.Crew-obsessed couple, wearing braces on their teeth, hits a frenzied level when a toy is lost during a dog competition.
On the more endearing end of the spectrum, Cookie (Catherine O’Hara) and Gerry Fleck (Eugene Levy) express their tender but quirky connection. Cross-eyed Gerry, wearing thick glasses, literally has two left feet, which the actor executes with charming awkwardness. Somehow, he also tolerates encounters with his wife’s ex-suitors who insist on planting back-dipping kisses on her and describing previous escapades in graphic detail. In the face of this flagrant attention, the actress imbues her role with a blend of wide-eyed innocence and constant adoration for her husband.
Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins) and Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean), with their pony-tailed shiatsus, take hysterical flamboyance to a new level. Wearing matador-style outfits and necklaces resembling dog collars, John Michael Higgins prompts belly laughter while packing countless kimonos and redecorating their hotel room.
Humorous Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Dog Competition
Best in Show is especially fascinating because of it humorous behind-the-scenes look at a dog competition. A series of funny scenes provide endless curiosity about who is the real walker during segments with dogs and owners trotting around the competition floor. Viewers are filled with amazement as they watch outrageously coiffed dogs and their tolerance for judges poking and prodding them during personal examinations.
Admiration for actors in this movie goes off the charts during an extraordinary revelation in the bonus material. Actor, writer and director Christopher Guest explains that in his films, including Waiting for Guffman, he generally supplies a basic storyline. Then, he asks the actors and actresses to improvise during the film-making process.
The realization that this offbeat and talented ensemble produced their own hysterical rants makes this move one to recommend for film lovers in awe of improvisation.
Questions About This Comedy for Artsphoria’s Online Film Forum
Who were your favorite actors and actresses in Best in Show, and why? Which scenes made you laugh, and what elements contributed to this comedy? What do you think about Christopher Guest‘s use of improvisation in his films?
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