Starring: Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara
Director: Christopher Guest
Running Time: 90 mins
Best In Show is an American film about a group of people from all walks of life who cross paths when competing at a national dog show in Philadelphia.
This is a nice, simple comedy that, although not the world’s most hilarious watch, proves an entertaining 90 minutes of wacky characters in a fairly bizarre situation. With a well-directed mockumentary style throughout working with a wide range of enjoyable performances, Best In Show is a fun watch, although its lack of a really strong story means it’s not the most enthralling film.
Let’s start with what’s best about the movie, and that’s the mockumentary style. The lack of a major story is a downside, but that’s well compensated for by using this style. The documentary-esque strcuture makes a slow-moving film feel far less so, while the self-aware nature of the style means that there’s a good sense of humour running right the way through the movie.
As a result, despite the fact that I never really laughed my socks off watching this movie, I was able to smile and enjoy it all the way through simply because there is a generally light-hearted and fun-loving vibe from start to finish. Its wide variety of strange and wacky characters may not prove endlessly hilarious, but they fit in well with the film’s overall atmosphere, and are easily enough to entertain you for the duration of 90 minutes.
And when it comes to those characters, there are some good points and bad points. On the one hand, some of the more eccentric characters are really entertaining to watch, and with a collection of strong performances that make those stranger personalities stand out so much more, you can have a good laugh with the film.
On the other hand, however, all of the characters do feel like very shallow caricatures, and don’t offer much beyond the odd wacky outburst. Unlike the brilliant mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, which manages to entertain you from start to finish with the hilarious conflict between the durbrained musicians and the bewildered filmmaker, Best In Show merely looks at a few characters and the random things they do while training and eventually participating in a dog show.
Yes, it’s good for a few light laughs, but not enough to make the film a properly good comedy, or even a properly engaging watch, something worsened by the fact that there isn’t all that much of a plot here, again merely pointing a camera at a collection of random people and seeing what happens, which doesn’t grab you in the way that I felt the film could have.
Overall, Best In Show is a fairly entertaining watch, with a strong mockumentary style and a good sense of humour throughout. However, it’s a little basic and shallow, and never provides really big laughs nor an engaging story to make the film any more than a series of strange occurrences, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3.