Saturday, 11 August 2007

For Your Consideration (Guest, 2006)

Sometimes, it’s good to have a few laughs. And these ‘laughs’ are the most satisfying when they turn out to be unexpected. Not the kind of ticklebelly you get when you watch The Simpsons Movie (because there you are expecting it) but the kind of ticklebelly you get when you watch For Your Consideration.

Sure, it’s written and directed by the team of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy (Spinal Tap, Best In Show) but since satire is such a hit and miss genre, you can never be sure whether they’ll hit the target or not.

The film goes for the obvious figures of fun in the world of acting and show-business (two elements that equal Hollywood). These are vain has-beens, over-eager method actors, anal film critics, shallow producers and cruel celebrity reporters. And in a way the predictability does stop For Your Consideration from reaching that level of brilliance that you would normally expect from Guest and Levy.

But the redeeming factors far outweigh the slightly stale target of satire. There are some wonderfully po-faced one-liners especially from Jennifer Coolidge as the eccentric producer. She has a natural comic talent that ought to be put to use more often. Considering the kind of deadpan humour, it is not a surprise to see Ricky Gervais make an appearance.

There have been complaints that this movie effort lacks the realism of previous mockumentaries such as Spinal Tap. Aside from the fact that For Your Consideration is not a mockumentary, the lack of realism in this comedy is precisely the element that ends up creating much of the humour. There is a queer delight in seeing an overblown kitsch melodrama be publicised as a potential Oscar winner. And this melodrama is none other than “Home For Purim”, which seems to be an underwhelming tribute to the homoerotic subtext of Douglas Sirk films. There is a perverse delight in seeing average TV movie actors get above their station. And there is also a twisted delight in seeing Hollywood actors talk about the Internet as if it’s some recently invented foreign planet.

It is Catherine O’Hara who lends the story a warm human touch. Even as she deforms into an unrecognisably botoxed media star, she reminds us how misplaced optimism can turn into pathetic despair. Yet, she still manages to be funny. Figure that.

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