Best in Show
This mocumentary spoofs several eccentric dog owners gearing up for the prestigious Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show.
Christopher Guest has had much success with comic parody, beginning with “This is Spinal Tap,” several hysterical sketches on “Saturday Night Live” and the extremely funny “Waiting for Guffman.” He has an ear for this style of writing and a very intuitive view of human nature.
With “Best in Show” Guest once again demonstrates his forte with put-on comedy. The film looks at four couples and a single man preparing their pampered pooches for a dog show. One loving couple has wrapped their world around their prize-winning doggy, as indeed have all of these people. They constantly bicker, but only because they think the other mate is not taking enough care of their neurotic canine. Another man and wife are off to the big show, but first make a stop at her old boyfriend’s home. The husband discovers that his wife has been promiscuous in her past. This is evidenced throughout the movie, as former suitors keep popping up, to the husband’s comic consternation. Then we have, not one, but two gay couples. Two men swish around, packing eight kaftans for a two-day trip and dissing the other participants. A female couple discovers their attraction for one another during the contest.
Guest himself plays a country boy who runs a fishing shop with a side hobby in ventriloquism. Every character in the picture is unconventional, to say the least, making for some very funny moments. But while it is a humorous look at their way of life, Guest does not belittle his creations. There is a sweet spirit and a poignancy to this look at human nature.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this one for family viewing due to the sexually related humor and the movie’s one misuse of God’s name.
As for those who treat their pets as if they were human beings, I simply cannot relate. I love dogs. I can’t walk past one without petting it, and of course, I had the best dog that ever circled a hydrant. But treating four-legged beings like newborn infants goes beyond my appreciation. Why, some people even allow their dogs on the bed! Sorry, but nothing that sniffs the bottom of trees shares my bed.