Centers on 30-year-old Tom Chadwick who, after losing his job and his girlfriend, begins exploring his family heritage after inheriting a mysterious box from a great aunt he never met. ... See full summary »
A legend in his own mind, as well as a few other places, actor Eugene Levy's (American Pie, Best in Show) eyebrows alone deserve a place in the hallowed halls of national treasures. Join ... See full summary »
Hollywood send-up. No-name actors are making a low-budget period drama called "Home for Purim," when an anonymous post on the Internet suggests that one performance is Oscar-worthy. Then, two more cast members get Oscar-related press: buzz in "Variety" and appearances on TV prompt the studio executives to insist on changes in the script in anticipation of a blockbuster. Jump ahead a few months to the days before Oscar nominees are announced: just the possibility of a nomination has changed the actors' lives. Agents, publicists, make-up artists, local celebrity reporters, and other bit players round out the backstage ensemble. Hooray for Hollywood! Written by
Guest & Levy hit a snag: their penchant for delicious comedy seems diminished here. Time for a new comic formula?
Sooner or later, it was bound to happen. In an impressive string of wonderful mockumentary farces over the past few years, guiding lights Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy, and their brilliant comedic acting ensemble, have joyfully savaged the self-important cultural "worlds" of small town amateur theater ("Waiting for Guffman"), dog shows ("Best in Show") and folk music ("A Mighty Wind").
But a winning formula can't go on forever unchanged, nor should we expect it to. Inevitably, the group have hit a bump in the road with their latest film, "For Your Consideration," a send-up of Hollywood movie making and the assorted vanities of movie makers. Not that it's bad. But compared to those earlier works, it isn't inspired; it doesn't grab you with its efforts to lampoon; and the performances of the actors - always uniformly of a high caliber in most of their movies is highly variable in this new movie. Perhaps the theme hits too close to home: it's hard to gain the distance necessary to properly ridicule your own ethos, your own cultural world. Or maybe it's just that the recipe Guest and Levy have used to such delightful advantage has just gotten old, for viewers and for Guest's company.
The plot, for what it's worth, concerns a film within a film: the making of a new movie, the ethnically freighted "Home for Purim," which is later rewritten and retitled "Home for Thanksgiving" to broaden its commercial box office appeal. All the stereotypes one expects are on hand: the avaricious executive producers; the harried director; the screenwriters, pained by the incremental decimation of their work; the aging stars in decline; the young up and comings; the vain chase after that holiest of grails: an Oscar, the hangers on the parasitic, disingenuous talent agent, talk show hosts, film critics and entertainment reporters. They're all here.
Parker Posey (young actress possibly on the way up), Catherine O'Hara ((veteran actress on the way out), Jennifer Coolidge (ditzy producer), and Eugene Levy (actors' agent) provide decent turns but none of these superb talents gives a truly inspired performance here. Harry Shearer is better as a long-suffering actor who is glad enough just to star in a feature film after years of making commercials, Oscar or no Oscar. But the comedic scene stealers in this movie are three pairs of actors who play off each other to wonderful effect: Fred Willard and Jane Lynch as a TV entertainment reporting duo, Bob Balaban and Michael McKean as the beleaguered screenwriters, and Don Lake and Michael Hitchcock as Siskel-Ebert style TV critics. There are several competent cameo contributors as well, the best of whom is Carrie Aizley, a movie journalist.
This is decent fare, but I think Guest and Levy need to re-imagine their formula for successful farce. I never thought the day would come when I would regard a comedy written by David Mamet as superior to work by Guest & Levy, but here's a tip: if you want to see a good send-up of movie making, try Mamet's 2000 film, "State and Main." My grades: 6.5/10 (low B) (Seen on 11/15/06)
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