'For Your Consideration' pushes for the envelope

Christopher Guest applies his amiable skewer to Oscar buzz — the dunderheads who generate it and the wannabe winners who shamelessly engage in the ado — in his new comedy, “For Your Consideration.” The result is paler than his similarly themed dog-show send-up, “Best in Show,” among his other pleasers, but is still a triumphant look at losers seeking validation in these times when limelight and trophies define worth.

Again partnering with Eugene Levy in the screenwriting arena, Guest has forgone his successful mockumentary format in favor of a standard narrative. Otherwise, the ingredients distinguishing his mock-docs — an improvisation-based script; an established stable of actors — remain, and still deliver.

The story centers on the making of a low-budget Jewish-flavored film, “Home for Purim.” After an Internet tidbit deems lead actress Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) a potential Academy Award nominee, rumors mushroom. Costars Callie Webb (Parker Posey) and Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), who’s best known for playing a foot-long wiener, also become Oscar-touted. The media descends. Contenders glam up, dumb down, and campaign for the statue. The studio chief (Ricky Gervais), smelling commercial success,instructs the disapproving screenwriters (Bob Balaban, Michael McKean) to “tone down” the Jewishness.

Perhaps because the subject of Hollywood soullessness is so familiar to Guest and company, the movie sometimes gets insidery and slack. It’s less consistently sharp than Guest’s earlier comedies, including the Hollywood-themed “The Big Picture.”

Another shortcoming is the film-within-a-film. It’s too awful (think the stage show in Guest’s “Waiting for Guffman”) to prompt Oscar talk, even in bandwagon-minded Hollywood.

But Guest has still made an entertaining, astute movie about small pictures, big silliness, and the challenges of maintaining integrity and sanity when glory beckons.

There’s enough terrific material here to please both indie fans and anyone saddened by the piffle that, once limited to gossip reportage, now occupies center stage. The sight of a made-over Marilyn, a longtime trouper suddenly obsessed with making the A-list, is hilariously pathetic. So is the dense entertainment-TV duo (Fred Willard, Jane Lynch) covering the hype.

The cast, which also includes Levy as Victor’s hollow agent and Jennifer Coolidge as the diaper-company heiress acting as producer, is perfectly in sync with Guest, combining parody with sympathy for these mediocre strivers who’ll do anything for a big-time seal of approval.

Surely, there’s infinite comic potential in such human need, and Guest continues to embrace it, winningly.

Movie review

For Your Consideration ***

Starring Catherine O’Hara, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy and Fred Willard

Written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy

Directed by Christopher Guest

Rated PG-13

Running time 1 hour, 26 minutes

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

National Weather Service flood watch in the San Francisco Bay Area for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (National Weather Service via Bay City News)
Storm pounds Bay Area, leaving over 145,000 without power as damage mounts

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Most Read