Waiting for Guffman

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Now, before I get started, I want to point out to those who are thinking, “Isn’t she a little biased to be writing this review?” that, yes, I am. I had the privilege of 2 weeks on the set of this film, which is why I waited until I saw it again last night before I wrote a review. Knowing stuff they cut out, I was disappointed and frustrated with the released version, but on a more objective viewing, I feel I can safely say that this movie will appeal to people who
find humor in the following venues:

Small towns
Community Theatre
Bad Theatre
Mock Documentaries
Improvisation
Musicals
Dry, deadpan humor

If this stuff is not your cup of tea, the 82 minutes selected for your viewing pleasure (from 60+ hours of footage!) will probably just float on by. If you are like me, however, you will find it very funny – there are understanding smiles kind of humor, and laugh out loud kind of humor.

It’s a mock documentary, in the tradition of Spinal Tap and Smile, of a small town, Blaine, in Missouri putting on a musical for it’s 150th birthday. Christopher Guest stars and directs, and with Eugene Levy (of SCTV fame) wrote the outline around which the actors improvised all their lines (except those in the actual musical). Levy is in it as well, as a not-funny dentist-cum-actor, as are Parker Posey (an indie film favorite), Fred Willard (Spinal Tap, anything Martin Mull has ever done), Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice, SCTV, The Home Alone movies), and many more faces you will recognize from film and TV. You can see me, too!

Anyway -Corky St. Clair (Chris Guest) hopes to attract the eye of a Broadway producer, and they mount this ridiculous show, which chronicles high points in Blaine’s history. Blaine has been visited by a UFO, been the Footstool manufacturing captial of the world, among home to some great characters, improvised by everyone. The songs in the show were written by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap fame. It’s gently amusing and not at all mean spirited. I myself recommend it highly! It’s had great reviews too and a great web page – http://www.guffman.com. I can’t quite say full price feature because it’s not quite the pure genius of Spinal Tap or Living in Oblivion.
But there is the bonus of looking for me! :) I counted last night – I am in four scenes but there are 7 shots. One is a stretch but the first person who can name all seven shots will win….something!*

*prize may vary due to geographical location of the winner
Note: as of August 2010 this prize has yet to be collected.

MPAA Rating R – language
Release date 1/31/97
Time in minutes 84
Director Christopher Guest
Studio Columbia Pictures