My Rating: 4 stars
I’ll watch anything Christopher Guest makes. I love his brand of absurdist, deadpan humor. And, I’m always intrigued by the kind of director who likes using the same actors in all their projects. Plus, the faux-documentary is one of my favorite genres. This time, Guest takes us into the cutthroat world of the professional sports mascots. And, our participants are getting ready for some kind of regional mascot championship competition. Contestants will be performing a short choreographed skit or dance for a panel of three celebrity judges from the sports mascot world. It promises to be very exciting.
I like some of Guest’s films better than others. I find that I like the ones set in a competitive scenario the best. Think Best in Show. This kind of story always presents amazing opportunities for awkward interviews and dramatic conflict. The reason this kind of story line works so well is because there is always something a little peculiar about an adult who is so into a specific hobby that she’s willing to enter into a public competition. They’re usually surrounded by an aura of innocence and/or tragedy. It’s cringeworthy, but hilarious. And, Christopher Guest really has an eye for this type of misfit.
In addition to the character-building, he also gets a big comedic payoffs making fun of just how absurd so many sports mascots are. Of course, there are the obvious choices—the outright aggressive ones—your bloodthirsty warriors and vicious beasts. Then you have the pathetically lame animals, and it’s not always clear whether the choice is ironic or not. We can always count on a few culturally insensitive, racial, caricatures. And for some reason, the fans of these teams are always irrationally and rabidly attached to their offensive mascots. Then there’s that baffling category of references that are so culturally specific that people from other regions have no idea what they’re about—usually your plant-based mascots, or characters based on village lore. However you slice it, there’s a wealth of material to work with.
I enjoyed this movie. It’s a good, classic, mockumentary in Christopher Guest’s usual style. So, if you’ve liked his work in the past, this one is right up there with some of the funniest. Plus, in addition to all our favorite actors from past movies, Guest has added a few new hilarious faces who are willing to fools of themselves for our amusement. So, give it a look.