Remember that weird film about a rock band your brother made you watch when you, like, 5? ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ (Rob Reiner, 1984) ring any bells?
Well, if you were the writer of that hilarious 'rockumentary', how would you follow it up? I mean, a film with a scene in which the ‘vertically challenged’ prance around a miniature model of Stone Henge is hard to compete with... but with his next release, ‘Best In Show’ (2000), Christopher Guest did just that.
A regular writer for Saturday Night Live (imdb.com backs me up on this), it would be pretty darn unusual if his work didn't quite cut the mustard, but still if you (like me) bypassed Guest's follow-up, I suggest you give it a go.
Although continuing with the spoof documentary style, this time Guest (who also directs and stars), takes a step away from the heady heights of a rock band on tour, instead this time taking a look at the world of, erm, dog shows. Not the most obvious choice for a screenplay, one might say, but by focusing our attention on the canine-obsessed owners, all preparing for the event in their 'individual' ways, Guest produces a laugh-a-minute comedy.
Indeed, it's hard to say where the laughs stop in this movie; it doesn't give you much time to breathe before another one-liner rears its head and stops you in your tracks - my personal favourite being Sherri Ann (Jennifer Coolidge) and her detailing of the things she has in common with her much older husband, as she declares "we both like soup".
There are too many of these moments, from faultless performances, for me to list here though. In fact, all of the protagonists, in each of their tragic ways, have something ultimately endearing about them; this applies no more pertinently than to the stealer of the show, Gerry Fleck (Eugene Levy), who has to endure constant meetings with his wife's previous lovers (of which there are many).
If you thought ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ (Michael Patrick Jann, 1999) was laugh-out-loud fantastic, think again - I shudder at the comparison I'm drawing, but it's needed nonetheless. ‘Best In Show’ is outstanding in its category, far surpassing its predecessors, even, dare I say, ‘This Is Spinal Tap’, deserving first prize in this competition.