Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 26 min.
Release Date: November 22nd, 2006 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Christopher Guest Actors: Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey, John Krasinski, Sandra Oh, Richard Kind, Bob Balaban, Michael McKean, Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Ricky Gervais, Craig Bierko
sensational blend of spoof, social and political commentary, and biting sarcasm as only writer/director Christopher Guest could devise, “For Your Consideration” is a delightfully witty, over-the-top, movie-within-a-movie. Taking a stab at the film and related awards industries much the same way “This Is Spinal Tap” targeted rock ’n’ roll, Guest has thoroughly simulated the preposterous and obnoxious events surrounding independent filmmaking and the actors influenced by the Oscar buzz. The tone is dry, caustic, knowledgeably parodic, sometimes blatantly paradoxical, and yet outrageously funny, sharply complementing “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best In Show,” and “A Mighty Wind” – which surely puts Guest at the forefront of the mockumentary subgenre.
Jay Berman (Christopher Guest, in a hilariously twisted Tim Burton/David Lynch getup) guides a dysfunctional group of unknown actors through calamitous scenes of his new indie project “Home for Purim.” The Jewish-themed period drama, dealing with a family reunion on the dying mother’s favorite holiday, stars Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) and Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer) as the estranged mother and understanding father, respectively. Callie Webb (Parker Posey) plays the ambiguously gay daughter, while several other erratic characters (and Guest regulars) fill in the not-so-picturesque relatives. When “Hollywood Now” reporters Chuck Porter (Fred Willard) and Cindy Martin (Jane Lynch) affirm the rumor that Marilyn, Victor, and Callie might be considered during the upcoming Academy Awards, everyone on the set becomes just a little more delirious.
Several notable cast members strike lasting impressions with constant, hilarious conversations on and off the sets of the fictitious production. Eugene Levy (who co-wrote the film) plays Morley Orfkin, the horribly incompetent talent agent who continuously throws out contradictory remarks and misguiding advice. Orfkin is greatly exaggerated, yet every word spoken and every action taken feels as if they were based on actual blunders by real advisors. Michael McKean and Bob Balaban portray “Home for Purim’s” screenwriters, who watch in horror as their script is thrown on the ground during one scene and routinely edited for religious content the next. And Ricky Gervais is easily the best satirical character, playing Martin Gibb, who suggests that the “Jewishness” of the film be drastically toned down to allow for a broader range of viewership. He also attempts to woo the scatterbrained producer, Whitney Taylor Brown (Jennifer Coolidge), who turns in an outstanding performance that informedly defines the oftentimes extravagant and uninvolved benefactor.
“For Your Consideration” manages to lampoon the situations and characters from a movie set so perfectly that the audience can easily recognize each figure and position they represent. From the bumbling agent to the skittish writers, every crew member is mocked and molded to ridiculous proportions. Anyone who has watched behind-the-scenes footage, or been involved with the creation of a film will surely appreciate the comedic hijinks as they unfold in gut-busting fashion. No employee is left un-skewered, right down to the stereotypically gay hairdresser/makeup artist.
One of the most riotous bits is the “Hollywood Now” anchors, who go to great lengths to fluff the actors when the Oscar rumors are generated, and then demean and humiliate them when the nominees are finally announced. This hysterically sums up the self-absorbed, spotlight-hungering, gossip-mongering media against the likeminded, equally deluded culture of pseudo-celebrities. Though Guest’s brand of humor is something of an acquired taste, it feels right at home in a send-up of moviemaking. It’s quite unlikely that this production will be remembered when the real Oscar season rolls around, but what a perfectly facetious event it would be if this picture was offered up for the Academy’s consideration.
– Mike Massie