Best in Show (2000)   1 comment

Best in Show 01

Best in Show (2000)

Starring

Eugene Levy and Catherine O’ Hara as Gerry and Cookie Fleck

Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock as Meg and Hamilton Swan

Christopher Guest as Harlan Pepper

Jennifer Coolidge and Patrick Cranshaw as Sherri Ann and Leslie Ward

Jane Lynch as Christy Cummings

John Michael Higgins and Michael McKean as Scott Donlan and Stefan Vanderhoof

Jim Piddock as Trevor Beckwith

Fred Willard as Buck Laughlin

Directed by Christopher Guest

Rated PG-13

Best in Show is an improvised satire of dog shows and the people who take their canines there.  According to certain people with whom I have discussed this movie and who are in a position to know, it is also an accurate depiction of some dog people.

This film is the story of couples, each of which takes a dog to the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Gerry and Cookie Fleck, a middle-class couple, travel from Florida, meeting several of Cookie’s former lovers.  The Fleck’s pride is their Norwich Terrier, Winky. Gerry and Cookie adore each other, and Cookie assures her husband that he is her present-day love.  Nevertheless, the multitude of his wife’s previous lovers bothers Gerry.

Best in Show 05

Above: Eugene Levy (as Gerry Fleck) and Catherine O’Hara (as Cookie Fleck) with Winky

Meg and Hamilton Swan, stereotypical yuppie lawyers who met at different Starbucks locations across the street from each other, obsess over their Weimaraner, Beatice.  The opening scene of the movie is Beatrice’s dog therapy session.  She became depressed after seeing Meg and Hamiltion try a sexual technique from the Kama Sutra.  “I’m sorry you had so see that,” Meg tells the unresponsive Beatrice at the doggie shrink’ s office.

Best in Show 02

Above: Parker Posey (as Meg Swan) with Beatrice

Best in Show 03

Above: Parker Posey (as Meg Swan) and Michael Hitchcock (as Hamilton Swan)

Harlan Pepper, of North Carolina, takes his beloved bloodhound, Hubert, to Philadelphia.  Pepper is a good-natured, if slightly obsessive, dog person who imagines what Hubert might be saying to him.  Pepper is also a very amateur ventriloquist.

Best in Show 04

Above: Christopher Guest (as Harlan Pepper) with Hubert the bloodhound

Sherri Ann Ward is a buxom scatterbrain who married elderly Leslie Ward, who in nearly dead, for his money.  She and Christy Cummings, a dog trainer, show a poodle named Rhapsody in White.  Leslie is a secondary character, seen mostly in background scenes, being pushed in his wheelchair.

Best in Show 06

Above: Patrick Cranshaw (as Leslie Ward) and Jennifer Coolidge (as Sherri Ann Ward) with Rhapsody in White

Best in Show 07

Above: Jane Lynch (as Christy Cummings) and Jennifer Coolidge (as Sherri Ann Ward) with Rhapsody in White

Scott Donlan and Stefan Vanderhoof are proud owners of two shih tzus, one of which they show in Philadelphia.  The dogs, which they dress up for movie-themed calendars, are their children.

Best in Show 09

Above: Michael McKean (as Stefan Vanderhoof), John Michael Higgins (as Scott Donlan) and the shih tzus

The television announcers for the dog show are Trevor Beckwith (an author of books about canines) and Buck Laughlin (an idiot who makes irrelevant and inappropriate comments).  Beckwith tries to tolerate Laughlin.

Best in Show 08

Above: Fred Willard (as Buck Laughlin) and Jim Piddock (as Trevor Beckwith)

Christopher Guest, as a film maker, does not seem to have a proverbial mean bone in his body.  As in Waiting for Guffman before this and in A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration after this, the satire is always gentle yet pointed.  Guest depicts human foibles accurately and to great comic effect without degrading any of his characters.  And he does so hilariously.

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Posted November 15, 2009 by neatnik2009 in Various Reviews

One response to “Best in Show (2000)

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post: Christopher Guest Movies | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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