|By Mira Harber
Christopher Guest, the director of Waiting for Guffman has come
out with another 'mockumentary,' this time aimed at the world of
dog shows. Guest uses his regular stable of performers including Eugene
Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey (queen of the indies), Fred Willard
& Micheal McKean.
Even the smallest of roles
are memorably played by performers Larry Miller and Ed Begley Jr. Each
and every part is played to perfection, and is hilarious, sad and touching
in its own way.
The best in show refers to the 'best of the best,' the one dog that has
not only won its category (hounds, terriers, toys, sporting dogs, etc.)
but is declared the best dog in the show. There is intense competition
in this world, but we never make fun of these people, rather we catch a
glimpse into their unusual world. The people who love and enter their dogs
are as different as the dogs themselves. The cast of characters includes
a sportsman & his bloodhound (Guest) who look eerily like one another,
a 40-ish sexpot (O'Hara) and her nerdy, all-accepting husband (Levy), an
uber-uptight-yuppie couple, a gay hairdresser couple, and an ancient man
(he looks to be 1001) and his lusty, young, VERY made up wife. All of these
people and their dogs make it to the final round.
When they arrive in Philadelphia for the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show,
we see the contestants and their dogs check into their hotel. The hotel
manager (Ed Begley Jr.) is played with a touchingly sympathetic manner
as he deals with the contestants problems ranging from losing credit and
staying in the broom closet to losing a dogs' favorite toy (now that is
One of the dog show commentators is Fred Willard, and he is totally hilarious
in his obliviousness and ignorance. Watch out for Eugene Levy in the final
competition - he gives the term 'two left feet' a new meaning.
I don't own a dog, and never have, but I found this little gem of a movie
thouroughly enjoyable (and I even learned something about dog shows, but
don't let that worry you). It's the kind of movie that you think about
and laugh at, days after you've left the theater. (Dixon Amhest & Market