For Your Consideration Review: Worthy Comedy

November 17, 2006

Ever wondered what would happen if a satire got together with a farce and had an affair with Hollywood? Christopher Guest, as only he can, looks at how a simple rumor can shake up the lives of so many otherwise ordinary actors. For Your Consideration shows just how strong the engines of the rumor mill are in Hollywood, and how hilarious gossip can be. Although it's filled with plenty of great one-liner jokes and a brilliantly comedic cast, few people outside of Hollywood will enjoy the industry-based focus.

For Your Consideration is a brief step away from a mockumentary style of storytelling, with a very distinctive Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) style. The film follows the production of Home for Purim, starring Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara), Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), Callie Webb (Parker Posey) and Brian Chubb (Christopher Moynihan). When Marilyn Hack learns of an Internet rumor about Oscar buzz for her role before the film is even finished, the rumor mill begins to spin out of control. The wildly irrational anchors of the TV show "Hollywood Now," Chuck Porter (Fred Willard) and Cindy Martin (Jane Lynch), only fan the flames. Soon everyone gets involved, from the unit publicist Corey Taft (John Michael Higgins) to the ditsy producer Whitney Taylor Brown (Jennifer Coolidge) and the president of the production company Sunfish Classics, Martin Gibb (Ricky Gervais). As each of the stars in turn begins to accumulate Oscar buzz, you can only guess what happens when the nominations are actually announced.

Although most of the comedy found in For Your Consideration is fantastic, it's a bit too brash and cold to have any sort of commercial appeal. Only Los Angeles locals and industry workers will understand the jokes and really get into the comedy. It even has some moments critiquing my own job as a film reviewer and member of the press. The script is filled with sharp one-liners that keep coming one after another, straight through to the very end. This writing, compliments of Eugene Levy and Christopher Guest together, is bolstered by improvisation from an all-star cast of comedic greats - you might not recognize all of the names, but you'll laugh heartily at every line they have. It's made me want to start our own Internet rumor just to see how much laugh-out-loud hilarity it will create in Hollywood.

There are some standout characters in For Your Consideration that deliver non-stop laughs. John Michael Higgins is the dumb-as-a-doornail unit publicist Corey Taft who barely knows what the Internet is. Parker Posey is Callie Webb, an ingénue of her own awful autobiography who has some subtle yet hilarious moments. Fred Willard's ridiculous sense of comedy has served him well as a regular on "The Tonight Show" and fits perfectly into For Your Consideration. Although I can keep going on and on about all of these great actors, For Your Consideration just doesn't hold well as being a wide-ranging consistently-enjoyable comedy in the way Borat is. It has it's unique Christopher Guest touch, but that is part of the detraction to what could have opened to a wider audience.

Last Word:
Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy have put together one of the most original and unique creations this winter. The wonderful cast in combination with the open encouragement of improvisation forms some of the most memorable one-liner jokes found in any film this year. The only drawback is its subject matter that will only amuse a limited number of interested audience members. Although For Your Consideration isn't the strongest comedy opening this year, I did enjoy it more than most other comedies from 2006.

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