Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

'For Your Consideration' is a shaky mockumentary that can't maintain a tone

With the 2011 Oscar Awards ballots being mailed to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today, this seems like the perfect time for a review of this movie.

For Your Consideration (2006)
Starring: Catherine O'Hare, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Christopher Moynihan, Jim Piddock, and Christopher Guest
Director: Christopher Guest
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

When a rumor gets started that three stars in "Home of Purum", a third-rate, low-budget art film (that is still in production) are going to nominated for an Oscar, the Hollywood dream machine and egoes kick into high gear. Can there be a happy Hollywood ending for once?

"For Your Consideration" is a real step downward for Christopher Guest, a writer/actor/director who has turned in some of the best mockumentaries ever made. But his magic formula--which involves a group of actors he works with on movie after movie ad-libbing scenes based on a story outline and that worked so well in Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show", and "A Mighty Wind"--doesn't quite click in this case.

The fatal problem with "For Your Consideration" is Guest doesn't seem to have a firm handle on the film's tone and style. The film doesn't have a convincing documentary feel to it, and the story is too loose and rambling to be a good "traditional" movie. It occupies a middleground between Guest's mockumentary style and his 1989 film "The Big Show", a straight movie that spoofed the Hollywood establishment and delivered much the same observatiions and messages as this latest film. But, although "The Big Show" had its problems, it was secure in its style. "For Your Consideration" is not, and it ultimately fails, because it feels phony as it unfolds.

The movie features all the faces we've come to expect in one of Guest's mockumentaries, but no one manages to be quite as funny as they were in "Best in Show" or "Waiting for Guffman". Stand-out cast members are Catherine O'Hare (who portrays a Hollywood has-been who comes to believe "Home for Purum" is her final shot at stardom), but she is remarkable here because her character is more tragic than funny and Parker Posey (who plays an obnoxious up-and-coming actress with devastating perfection).

Despite the good performances, this film is only of interest to the biggest fans of this troupe and Christopher Guest. Because the director failed to create a convincing tone--Guest utterly fails at making the film feel like a documentary--the film is shot through with a sense of fakeness and hollowness.


  1. I agree....
    I had been hoping this one would be a sharp jab right in the gut of a Hollywood that takes itself too seriously...but nope -- no dice.