Waiting for Guffman

Dir: Christopher Guest
What do you mean, you’ve never seen ______?
I often get this. For a bloody film critic, there’s a lot of stuff I just plain haven’t watched. I’m perpetually playing catch up. In fact, just this weekend I got this Jon, who thrust a copy of Ozu’s “Floating Weeds” at me in disbelief and disgust. For this film it was the video store guy saying to me, “Guffman again, eh?” and me saying no, I, um, haven’t seen it.
So most of you know Guest’s mockumentary of a community theater performance, a tribute to the small town of Blaine, Missouri, put on by the town populace under the directing eye of ex-New Yorker Corky St. Claire (Guest). The entire film was improvised along certain narrative guidelines, and again suggests that it is Second City, not the desperate comics of SNL (although many come from SC), that spawned the best comedians in the ’80s. There’s always been something infantile about Saturday Night Live, with its petty jostlings for movie projects superceding the work at hand. Second City, especially SCTV, always seemed more of a group effort, and you can still sense that togetherness when two or more appear in films together. Fred Willard always makes me laugh, but he doesn’t steal scenes. He was great as the oblivious announcer in Best in Show, and his character in WFG is buffoonish without being a caricature. I wonder how some of SNL’s best and brightest would be in a future Guest film? Will Farrell is good at cartoon characters, but could he present a three-dimensional person?
The DVD features about 20 minutes of extra scenes, and witty commentary from Guest and Eugene Levy.

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