The owners (and handlers) of five show dogs head for the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. A film crew interviews them as they prepare for the trip, arrive at Philly's Taft Hotel, and compete. From Florida come the Flecks: she keeps running into old lovers. A wordless ancient in a wheelchair and his buxom trophy wife who may have a thing for the dog's handler own the two-time defending best in show, a poodle. From the piney woods of N.C. comes a fella who wants to be a ventriloquist. High-strung DINKs feud loudly in front of their Weimaraner. Two outré gay men from Tribeca round out the profiled owners. The dog show brings out the essence of the humans. Who will be best in show? Written by
Right before turning in, the girlfriend said that if I was still up working into the wee hours I should take a break and turn on the telly. Best in Show would be on and although she hadn't seen it, she'd heard it got great reviews.
I kept working and forgot the time. The telly was on but I ignored it. All of a sudden I began hearing this very weird dialog. 'We like the same things - soup, snow peas, talking - and not talking.' I thought to myself 'what is this - some kind of weird porn movie?' And I continued ignoring it for a while longer until I heard the voices of Levy and Begley Jr. It was then I remembered what the girlfriend had said.
I looked the movie up at the IMDb quickly and was surprised to see who was behind it: Christopher Guest aka Nigel Tufnel, the man with the extra loud guitar amplifier. I knew then I was lucky to still be awake to witness this one.
I made two more checks at the IMDb before getting back to the movie: the number of awards and nominations and the box office. Not surprisingly this was a low budget venture, and not surprisingly either it's garnered tonnes of awards and nominations. The studio made a profit off this one, but it's pocket change in comparison to the big blockbusters. Still, it must be a kind of Woody Allen and Orion kind of thing: movies like this make the studio look good.
On to the movie: it's a riot, a bloody riot. It might not be your cuppa, but then OK - turn it off or watch something else. But there is so much in this one - it plays a bit like an Altman. Lots of hand-held too. And when you finally get to the show itself on comes Fred Willard and takes it away. He uses Jim Piddock as a foil - actually he uses almost everything as a foil. And if you think his portrayal is too much over the top, reflect on the fact it's supposedly a copy of an actual commentator at shows of this kind.
This type of movie is either extraordinarily difficult or admirably easy to make, and I suspect it's a bit of both. Some of the skits are just too much, and everywhere you turn the acting is inspired. One scene with I believe Posey in a pet shop is precious - and not only her work but the shop assistant's. Amazing stuff.
Mostly my sympathies went to Begley Jr who was the receptionist at the hotel. Meeting all these weird types and trying to remain accommodating and representative - it must be difficult if not impossible. There are some very weird characters in this one.
And you may be asking yourselves 'watch a mockumentary about a dog show and its participants?' And that's the whole point - it's hilarious; it's a riot.
I give it an 11.
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