The Westminster Kennel Club dog show was never this interesting!
Written By: Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy
Directed By: Christopher Guest
Dry comedy works for me, it always has and I don’t see it ever falling out of my favor. For that very reason I was instantly taken by Best In Show upon first seeing it some years ago. It is dry, droll, quirky, funny and real. We get to know the characters, we relate to some of them, laugh with all of them, detest a few and wonder how some function as human beings. Out of all those words the key is with, there is no at in Best In Show. I’m sure some people do laugh at the characters, but that wasn’t the case for me. Christopher Guest, as well as Eugene Levy, aren’t singling out these people as objects of laughter, they are pointing out how funny there seemingly normal lives can be. I like mean humor as much as the next guy, but I also like humor that is free spirited and a look at life as opposed to an attack on it. Best In Show never attacks, no matter how many openings there are for a full on blitzkrieg.
Of course beyond writing and direction the key to any great comedy is the cast. They need to develop timing with each other and a camaraderie that we believe. The mockumentary style of Best In Show allows us a closeness with the characters, in essence it allows for them to develop their timing with us as well as with each other. The style allows them to work freely, and the results are tremendous. Across the board every actor in Best In Show is funny, and fits their role to a T. Of course I must get an Ed Begley Jr. shout out in, because he is always worth a shout. But, the man who steals the show is Fred Willard as color commentator Buck Laughlin. He is hysterical, and while he does do everything in his power to try and find funny anecdotes what makes him even funnier is that he asks questions that make sense to us. How is this thing judged? Why aren’t they fetching? He’s at as much of a loss as we are and he’s all the more funnier for it.
I remember watching Waiting For Guffman, another film by Christopher Guest, and enjoying it but not being blown away like so many others. I wasn’t blown away by Best in Show either, but it was a great comedy and I laughed heartily at it. Still, if I enjoyed this so much then I need to take another look at Waiting For Guffman because I do enjoy Guest’s style. Best In Show will make you laugh, it isn’t demeaning to its characters or to dog shows. It is a well put together comedy with a superb cast that are always on point. Just remember, it’s all about amazing classic movie dog calendars, I know I’d buy one.