Best in Show

All your cult-favorite Waiting for Guffman actors—Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Bob Balaban—are back in Christopher Guest's new comic romp about a Grand Hotel of crazy people who've descended on Philadelphia to participate in a juried pet show. Each hopes his or her obsessively groomed dog will win the coveted blue ribbon for “best of show.” The picture's mighty funny—definitely a chortle a minute. But it still isn't a very good movie. It's easy to make fun of schlocky pet shows, and Guest's attempt to create dramatic tension around which dog will win goes nowhere. Who cares? The four actors above are as winningly dippy as they were in Guffman—O'Hara is especially amusing as Levy's Norwich terrier-owning wife, who, to Levy's consternation, seems to have slept with every man in America. And kudos to the irrepressible Fred Willard as a hilarious birdbrained TV commentator covering the show. The biggest disappointment is Guest himself, who was delightful as the vaguely closeted gay theater director in Waiting for Guffman. Here he's a hound-owning North Carolinian who tells unfunny convoluted hunting and fishing stories that seem ripped off from Errol Morris's Vernon, Florida. 90 min.

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