For Your Consideration Review
Maybe a satirical look at Awards Season in Hollywood is just a bit too obvious, but this latest effort from the team who bought you Spinal Tap and Best In Show, while funny as ever, lacks the razor sharpness of some of their previous efforts. Still, it was one of the lighter moments of last year’s London Film Festival, and offers many simple pleasures.
Marilyn Hack (O’Hara) is a washed up actress playing the dying matriarch of a Jewish family in a so-bad-its-bad film called Home For Purim. Desperate for affirmation, Marilyn suggests to the unit publicist (John Michael Higgins) that an internet rumour mentions her as an Oscar possible. The publicist gets over-excited, and the hype mill goes into overdrive. Her co-stars, including Posey and Shearer, are initially disdainful, claiming that they only care about their art, until they also get swept up in ‘what ifs’, the lunatics take over the asylum, and their relationships and careers start to crack under the strain.
That’s it as far as the plot’s concerned, what is good about the film is the carefully observed set-ups and scenarios. The depressed writers; Jennifer Coolidge’s hilarious turn, teetering in as the producer (‘I buy snacks’); the process of designing the film’s poster; Fred Willard and Jane Lynch as barking mad anchors of a showbiz gossip tv show. Best of all, the wrap party, to which Marilyn turns up in a tiny mini-dress and terrifying trout pout, all but unrecognisable.
Its an amusing enough insight into the manufactured hype and monstrous egos of awards season, but what it lacks, compared with Guest’s mockumentaries, is the affectionate tone; these people are desperate, and the comedy is more barbed, the targets a bit too easy. If Home For Purim was a slightly better movie, if you believed even for a minute that a nomination was a possibility, then the film might actually have been stronger. Ricky Gervais pops up, more a distraction that a positive addition to the team, as an interfering studio suit – you can’t help but wish he would work on some accents – whoever he’s playing, he just sounds like David Brent…
Still, if you like Guest, there is much to enjoy, and he’s rounded up his usual company, all superb as usual and so very likeable that you can’t help having fun in their company. Still, I hope next time that Guest takes on a slightly more complex subject matter – so many great films have been made about film-making that For Your Consideration struggles to say anything new. Still, there are worse ways of whiling away a couple of hours.
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