Best in Show (2000)
Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team? - Buck
On first glance "Best in Show" looks like one of those spoof documentary comedies which I don't get, I just usually find these sorts of movies unfunny. And to be honest I didn't have great hopes when I finally decided to watch this comedy documentary about dog breeders and a dog show with really the impressiveness of the cast being why I finally bit the bullet. But I was surprised because the writing team of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy have delivered a smorgasbord of humour from poking fun at dog shows, making jokes about stereotypes as well as a lot of observational humour. It means that even if you don't get one joke there is usually another closely following which you will.
Now "Best in Show" is a very simple movie using documentary style camera work and interviews to follow a group of dog owners, handlers and their dogs as they head and compete in a dog show. But what makes it work is less to do with the styling but the enormous amount of humour and clever writing. There is the expected humour as we meet the Swan's who treat there dog as a child to the extent they even see a therapist with their dog. We also meet the Fleck's a more down to earth couple but then we have the Cabot's a buxom young woman with a wheelchair bound older man. And I could go on because we have gay characters, lesbians, hillbillies and so many more.
And in a way the mess of what I have just written is sort of like "Best in Show" because it is a right mix of different things. We have gay stereotyping with John Michael Higgins playing it over the top as the camp Scott but then you have observational humour such as when the Swan's mention they met in Starbucks, not the same Starbucks but they saw each other in Starbucks across the road from each other. Talking of the Swan's you then have them stressing out over a cuddly toy whilst Gerry Fleck has to deal with the fact that his wife Cookie has slept with many men, many of which they meet on the way to the competition. It is a seriously mixed bag and I haven't even mentioned Fred Willard as Buck Laughlin a sports jock style commentator who makes irrelevant comparisons whilst commentating on the dog show.
As such whilst the cast of "Best in Show" is impressive with actors such as Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Michael McKean, Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Lynch to name but a few of the many recognizable faces it is the quality of the writing which stands out. And as such the real stars of "Best in Show" are Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy because whilst they play central characters it is their writing, their jokes and observational humour which makes it so great. To put it simply because they manage to combine so much humour from dog jokes, stereotypes to observational that even if watching a comedy about dog owners doesn't sound like your thing then the humour from the stereotyping will probably make you laugh.
What this all boils down to is that "Best in Show" is a surprising little gem of a comedy which delivers so much humour that even if you don't like certain things there will be something else which will make you laugh.
Tags: Dog Movies
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