7.4/10
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358 user 64 critic

Best in Show (2000)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 20 October 2000 (USA)
Trailer
2:12 | Trailer
A "behind the scenes" look into the highly competitive and cut-throat world of dog-shows through the eyes of a group of ruthless dog owners.

Director:

Christopher Guest
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Popularity
1,488 ( 362)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jay Brazeau ... Dr. Chuck Nelken
Parker Posey ... Meg Swan
Michael Hitchcock ... Hamilton Swan
Catherine O'Hara ... Cookie Fleck
Eugene Levy ... Gerry Fleck
Carrie Aizley ... Fern City Show Spectator
Lewis Arquette ... Fern City Show Spectator
Dany Canino Dany Canino ... Fern City Show Judge
Bob Balaban ... Dr. Theodore W. Millbank, III
Will Sasso ... Fishin' Hole Guy
Stephen E. Miller ... Fishin' Hole Guy
Christopher Guest ... Harlan Pepper
Michael McKean ... Stefan Vanderhoof
John Michael Higgins ... Scott Donlan
Colin Cunningham ... New York Butcher
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Storyline

At the prestigious Mayflower Dog Show, a "documentary film crew" captures the excitement and tension displayed by the eccentric participants in the outrageously hilarious satire Best In Show. This biting send-up exposes the wondrously diverse dog owners who travel from all over America to showcase their four-legged contenders. Mild-mannered salesman Gerry Fleck (Eugene Levy) and his vivacious wife, Cookie (Catherine O'Hara), happily prepare their Norwich Terrier, while shop owner Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest) hopes his Bloodhound wins top prize. As two upwardly mobile attorneys (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock) anxiously ready their neurotic Weimaraner and an ecstatically happy gay couple (Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins) dote on their tiny Shih Tzu, inept commentator Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard) vainly attempts to provide colorful tidbits about each breed.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some pets deserve a little more respect than others.

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and sex-related material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fred Willard's character Buck Laughlin was based on baseball legend Joe Garagiola, who had co-hosted the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in years past, to similar effect. See more »

Goofs

When visiting Max Berman's house, there are shots of the dinner table which also show a wall with a couple of pictures hanging on it, on the left half of the screen. In one shot, there are two pictures placed close together. In a later shot, the pictures are far apart. See more »

Quotes

Gerry Fleck: Don't water the plants, they're plastic!
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Crazy Credits

Lord Haden-Guest...Sitar (Lord Haden-Guest is Christopher Guest) See more »

Connections

Referenced in After Tiller (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Louisiana Nights
Written by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest
Performed by Christopher Guest
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Best In Show" indeed
12 June 2001 | by Fincher-3See all my reviews

I'll admit that I've never seen "Waiting for Guffman", 1997's critically acclaimed comedy mockumentary about a small town thats that stages a pageant. When the advertising for Best in Show had the tagline "From the Team That Brought You Waiting for Guffman", a fair number of critics out there implied in their reviews that only people that are familiar with the film or its filmmakers and cast would have a good time seeing this film. For shame, critics, for shame times two! Any critic that implies something like that with any film probably doesn't want to share the film's wealth with the rest of the world, but this is one film that I hope people will experience, now that its video/dvd. "Best in Show" is, without a doubt, the best comedy of 2000.

The film begins with a mockumentary style, introducing the main competitors (not to mention screwballs) of the annual Mayflower "Best In Show" competition, where dogs of all breeds come to compete to see who is the top dog. We have the loveable and gullable Harry Pepper (Guest) with his bloodhound, the simple Gerry & Cookie Fleck (Levy & O'Hara) with their terriors, nut-case yuppies Hamilton & Meg Swan (Hitchcock & Posey), the gay dog groomers Scott Dolan & Stefan Vanderhoof (Higgins & McKean), and the airheaded millionare Sheri Ann Ward Cabot (Coolidge) along with her trainer Christy Cummings (Lynch). They all have their minds on one simple object: The Blue Ribbon, which will be awarded to the best dog. And...do I have to tell you the rest?

Director/writer/star Guest's idea of humor is one that assures me that there are comedies out there that are worth laughing at, and that the idiocy of films like "American Pie" or other pointless "teenage" flicks won't take over the world after all. His idea is simple: make your comedy not just funny, but SMART funny. But instead of following in the brilliant footsteps of films like "Zero Effect" and "High Fidelity", he used a rather unusual approach (and as I understand, he also used this approach for "Guffman"). Whether you notice or not, a very large part of the film is improvisation. In other words, what the actors say and do were probably not written in the script, maybe even not even dreamed of by Guest and co-writer/star Levy. But with a gentle hand from Guest, he and the actors pulled off a hilarious theatrical feat that probably would have flopped if handled by other, less adept actors. Now that's smart!

The cast is, of course, what makes improv work the most. All of them are a (comedic) marvel to behold, especially Guest as Pepper. But the real standout has to be Fred Williard as Buck Laughlin, the clueless announcer at the competition who can spin out the most outrageously funny stories and comments that no announcer would even dream of...that is, if the announcer was trying to be funny. Williard can go from talking about the dog to suddenly going on and on about how much he can bench press. There's even a part were he gives out an idea for a new marketing strategy: have sexy women pose in tight shirts and shorts with the dogs and imply something like "have a doggie-style of a time". Its priceless, as is his performance.

I hope that people engage in this 90-minute "dogumentary". The film deserves so much recognition. It did get nominated for Best Picture-Comedy at the Golden Globes, but didn't win. I can't see why. I mean, in the comedy department, it is best in show.

GRADE: A


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dog Show See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$413,436, 1 October 2000

Gross USA:

$18,715,392

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,789,556
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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