Off-Track Entry from Guest's Troupe
As a fan of Christopher Guest's previous improvisational comedy films like A Mighty Wind, I was very eager to see For Your Consideration. That may help explain why, sadly, I felt a big disappointment after viewing Guest's latest effort. This movie definitely has its moments -- the best involve Fred Willard and Jane Lynch, hilarious as entertainment gossip show hosts -- but it creates too big a challenge for itself in choosing Hollywood as its subject to lampoon -- frankly, it's just been done too much already.
Guest's particular angle here is the Oscar race, and his main characters, led by the versatile Catherine O'Hara, are actors on a rather dreadful-looking period drama who all gain some measure of hope for redeeming their rather pathetic lives when the internet rumor mills suggest their performances could be award worthy. The premise has potential, but the targets -- producers, screenwriters, directors, actors -- are easy. The scenario it presents is also hard to buy -- the actors are obviously bad, so lampooning the awards buzz around them feels less like satire of the industry and more like straight-faced parody.
The final blow is how the story abruptly ends before a climax we are teased into expecting isn't even allowed to occur. The movie seems to be missing almost a whole third act, and what we're left with are a handful of funny moments, some good characterizations, but nothing else on the level of the fine work Guest and his talented ensemble have delivered in the past.
For Your Consideration also lacks a warmth that the others have had -- it feels a little more mean-spirited than usual, and a major strength of Guest's movies has always been the ability to generate empathy for characters we'd otherwise laugh at, so the weakness of its presence here comes across as especially glaring.
(Released by Warner Independent Pictures and rated "PG-13" for sexual references and brief language.)
Review also posted at www.windowtothemovies.com.