Waiting for Guffman (1997) – Review

3 Stars

Christopher Guest’s Waiting for Guffman is a somewhat forgotten and overlooked entry into the mockumentary specialists’ filmography. It’s not an outright classic along the lines of Spinal Tap or Best in Show, but it has a lot of the same subversive pleasure of Guest’s second-tier efforts like For Your Consideration and A Mighty Wind. The laughs might not be delivered by the minute but when they hit they are typically uproarious.

When the town of Blaine, Mo., approaches its sesquicentennial, there’s only one way to celebrate: with a musical revue called “Red, White, and Blaine.” Hoping the show will be his ticket back to Broadway, impresario Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) rounds up a cast of enthusiastic but untalented locals (Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara) to perform his masterwork. But, when Corky reveals that theater agent Mort Guffman will attend the opening, things really kick into high gear.

Spinal Tap set the precedent for this genre and it’s still the best of the bunch. However, there are some big laughs scattered throughout Guffman. These come courtesy of the improvisational skills of it’s finely tuned cast members. This group that Guest has assembled is so deft at handling this type of material it becomes a joy just to watch them perform. Waiting for Guffman isn’t for all tastes but its surefire entertainment for those with a quirky sense of humor.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara

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