Get Your Reps In: “Best in Show” Serves as Christopher Guest’s Most Accessible Mockumentary

What to see at Portland’s repertory theaters.

Best In Show (IMDB )

Christopher Guest is far too successful to be considered a “cult comedy” filmmaker. But he still specializes in the comedy of cults.

The pioneering mockumentarian has made a career of the incredibly straight faces his characters wear while serving ridiculous subcultures (see: Waiting for Guffman, This Is Spinal Tap, etc.)

Best in Show (2000) may be the most rounded, accessible example of this subcultural humor, and the preeminent dog show comedy screens for a week at the Academy Theater beginning Friday.

A great Guest movie depends on his massive casts entertaining across the board, and Best in Show hits a sweet spot where a half-dozen members of his recurring troupe—Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean—project all their insecurities and obsessions onto their nonplussed animals.

Fred Willard must be mentioned as well for his all-time improv hot streak in the film’s last 20 minutes. It’s buffoonery of the highest order, as TV commentator Buck Laughlin (Willard) is merrily content to wing it through the telecast with no prior knowledge of competitive dog-showing.

“Why don’t they put the bloodhound—put on one of those Sherlock Holmes hats and put a little pipe in his mouth?” Laughlin speculates. “Are they ever allowed to do anything like that? Dress up the dog in a funny way? It would really get the crowd going.”No word from the Westminster Kennel Club on that proposed rule change. Academy, April 19–25.


5th Avenue: Short Term 12 (2013), April 19-21. Academy: The Apartment (1960), April 19-25. Cinema 21: Something Wild (1986), April 20. Clinton: Do Not Resist (2016), April 19. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), April 20. A Goofy Movie (1995), April 23. Hollywood: Shanghai Express (1932), April 18. The Lodger: A Story of London Fog (1927), with live organ score, April 20. The Big Lebowski (1998), April 20. The Sky Crawlers (2008), April 21. The Fog (1980), April 21. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), April 22. Tomorrow: Princess Mononoke (1997), April 21.

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