7.6/10
22,368
201 user 50 critic

Waiting for Guffman (1996)

R | | Comedy | 31 January 1997 (USA)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

WAYS TO
WATCH:

See all
An aspiring director and the marginally talented amateur cast of a hokey small-town Missouri musical production go overboard when they learn that someone from Broadway will be in attendance.

Director:

2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

A Mighty Wind (2003)
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Mockumentary captures the reunion of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen as they prepare for a show at The Town Hall to memorialize a recently deceased concert promoter.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean
Best in Show (2000)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A colorful array of characters compete at a national dog show.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Three actors learn that their respective performances in the film "Home for Purim," a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, are generating award-season buzz.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Christopher Guest
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/11 X  

Spinal Tap, one of England's loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DeBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Film school grad Nick Chapman thought his career was made after his award winning short film, but discovered Hollywood wasn't as easy as it seems.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emily Longstreth
Family Tree (TV Series 2013)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Centers on 30-year-old Tom Chadwick who, after losing his job and his girlfriend, begins exploring his family heritage after inheriting a mysterious box from a great aunt he never met. ... See full summary »

Stars: Chris O'Dowd, Tom Bennett, Nina Conti
The Jerk (1979)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Catlin Adams
The Producers (1967)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.

Director: Mel Brooks
Stars: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A mentally unbalanced young woman (who thinks she's Jackie Kennedy) flips into a murderous rage when her brother returns home to reveal he's engaged.

Director: Mark Waters
Stars: Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling
Party Girl (1995)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Mary is a free-spirited young woman with a run-down New York apartment and a high fashion wardrobe. She calls her godmother, a librarian, for bail money after being arrested for throwing an... See full summary »

Director: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Stars: Parker Posey, Omar Townsend, Anthony DeSando
Mascots (2016)
Comedy

A look into the world of competitive mascots.

Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch
D.O.A. (TV Movie 1999)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Christopher Guest
Stars: Christa Campbell, Thomas Garner, Christopher Guest
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Scott Williamson ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
James McQueen ...
Singing Auditioner (as Jim McQueen)
...
Jerry Turman ...
...
Edit

Storyline

A town of Blaine, Missouri is preparing for celebrations of its 150th anniversary. Corky St.Clair, an off-off-off-off-off-Broadway director is putting together an amateur theater show about the town's history, starring a local dentist, a couple of travel agents, a Dairy Queen waitress, and a car repairman. He invites a Broadway theater critic Mr. Guffman to see the opening night of the show. Written by Piotr Zembrowski <zembrows@astro.utoronto.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A New Comedy from the lead guitarist of 'Spinal Tap' See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 January 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Christopher Guest Project  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$37,990 (USA) (31 January 1997)

Gross:

$2,892,582 (USA) (18 July 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| | (uncredited)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) wears a Judy Tenuta T-shirt near the beginning of the film. Tenuta's self-given nickname is "The Love Goddess". See more »

Goofs

During the overture, the trumpet player also plays the timpani. Although there is only one drum, we hear two distinct notes which would be impossible. See more »

Quotes

Corky St. Clair: My first show was Barefoot in the Park, which was an absolute smash, but my production on the stage of Backdraft was what really got them excited. This whole idea of 'In Your Face' theatre really affected them. The conceptualization, the whole abstraction, the obtuseness of this production to me was what was interesting. I wanted the audience to feel the heat from the fire, the fear, because people don't like fire, poked, poked in their noses, you know when you get a cinder from a barbeque ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits Christopher Guest's character shows us some of the fun memorabilia that he sells in his store. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Folks at Home
(uncredited)
aka "Swanee River"
Written by Stephen Foster
Sung by Eugene Levy at the audition
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
But You Don't Have To Wait For The Laughs
25 June 2001 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

Civic pride and the desire to perform bring an eclectic group of people together in the mock documentary, or `mockumentary,' `Waiting for Guffman,' directed by Christopher Guest. As he did with his more recent outing, `Best In Show,' Guest uses his satirical format to tell the story of the good people of Blaine, Mo., who are planning a celebration to commemorate the sesquicentennial of their fair town, the highlight of which will be a play depicting the history of Blaine. And how fortunate they are, as the celebrated director Corky St. Clair (Guest), who has had some close encounters with Broadway, has recently settled down in Blaine and has agreed to undertake the monumental task of directing the play, which he decides to present as a musical. He has the High School band/music teacher, Lloyd Miller (Bob Balaban) to provide the music; now all he has to do is assemble his cast. So he posts an announcement for auditions, and with that, the action begins.

St. Clair has a grand vision of what his musical will be, and once rehearsals begin and he realizes just how good it is, he contacts some people he knows from his brush with the Great White Way, who agree to send a representative, Guffman, to see the show. St. Clair, of course, is walking on air, as he sees this as a chance at the big time; he's convinced they're going all the way to Broadway with this one. And on the night of the show, anticipation runs high as St. Clair and the members of the cast wait for Guffman to arrive. They've even reserved a folding chair in the front row for him, and as the curtain goes up, they hold their breath awaiting the first glimpse of The Man himself.

Guest takes you through the whole process, from the auditions to the final show, and through interviews you get to know the townsfolk and their feelings about living in Blaine and their thoughts on the sesquicentennial and St. Clair's elaborate musical. And as you meet these people, I guarantee you're going to run into more than a few from your own experience; and anyone who's ever had anything to do with community theater on any level, is definitely going to be able to identify with the characters and situations presented here. Written by Guest and Eugene Levy, the screenplay is rife with insight into human nature on a level with anything ever written by Thackeray or Twain. The humor is dry and subtle; never forced, it evolves totally from the characters and the situations Guest and Levy have created. And, as David Byrne did with `True Stories,' they play up the humor of every day life in a small town without ever making fun or maligning it in any way; there are no `cheap shots' employed just for the sake of a laugh. It's all delivered good-naturedly and with taste. If they seem to be laughing at anyone, rest assured, it's themselves above all.

Among those involved in bringing this piece of Americana to life are Fred Willard as Ron Albertson, and Catherine O'Hara as his wife, Sheila, who together run a local travel agency, but are entertainers at heart and jump at the chance to perform in St. Clair's musical; Parker Posey as Libby Mae Brown, who hopes to leave her job at the Dairy Queen behind when the show moves to Broadway; Eugene Levy as Dr. Allan Pearl, a dentist with a latent desire to perform who finally gets his chance with St. Clair; and Matt Keeslar as Johnny Savage, the mechanic who never realized where he real talents lay until St. Clair came along, and winds up on the stage, much to the chagrin of his dubious father, Red, played by Brian Doyle-Murray. The performances by one and all are first rate, and it gives that necessary sense of realism to the film that really makes it work; these are not actors you're watching, but real people in a very real town.

The supporting cast includes Don Lake (Blaine Historian Phil Burgess), Paul Dooley (UFO Abductee), Linda Kash (Mrs. Pearl), Miriam Flynn (Costume Dresser), Jill Parker-Jones (Stage Manager), Larry Miller (Glen Welsch, Mayor), Deborah Theaker (Gwen Fabin-Blunt, Councilwoman), Michael Hitchcock (Steve Stark, Councilman) and Scott Williamson (Tucker Livingston, Councilman). Alfred Hitchcock may be the Master of Suspense, but with `Waiting for Guffman,' Christopher Guest proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is the Master of the `Mockumentary.' He has an eye for detail and an innate sense of what makes people tick, and he fills his film with all the nuance and quirks of life that can be found every day in any small town or metropolis across the country. With this film he holds up the mirror and says, `Go ahead, take a look,' and it gives you a chance to let your hair down and perhaps realize that everything isn't quite as serious as it seems sometimes; a chance to laugh at yourself and the guy next to you, with nothing but the best intentions, while affording you the opportunity of just having some good, old fashioned fun. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.


26 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The funniest parts... osiris1979
Funniest Part to Me... stupidgirl2003
Rated R for brief strong language? erinw91
Remains of the Day lunchbox Molly_Smengy
Bill Murray? erikisonfire
Remains of the Day Lunchbox hitchcockfan60
Discuss Waiting for Guffman (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page