Best in Show - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Best in Show Reviews

Page 1 of 176
Super Reviewer
½ December 8, 2015
Number three out of five in a string of mockumentary movies that Christopher Guest has had a hand in writing, directing and of course starring. In my humble opinion this is probably the second most well known of the five with 'This Is Spinal Tap' being the clear winner in that field.

The simple premise behind this film is a dog show (in America of course), a dog show much like the famous British dog show Crufts. In fact the show in this movie is actually, supposedly, based upon a real dog show that takes place in New York each year, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. We the viewer follow the day to day lives of a set of dog owners and their preparation for the show, the ordeals during the show, and the eventual full outcome. The film is naturally in a documentary style with hand held cameras and many interviews on the fly as the adventures of each dog team is closely watched every bit of the way.

Its of no surprise of course that the dog teams are a varied larger than life bunch of people for maximum comedic effect. You have the flamboyant gay couple portrayed by Guest movie regular Michael McKean and John Higgins. McKean being the older, wiser, more conservatively dressed gent of the duo, whilst Higgins is the younger, fitter, spiritual, better looking toyboy of the couple who dresses flamboyantly. The pair own a small fluffy Shih Tzu which I guess you could say compliments their lifestyle? or is that too stereotypical to say? surely that was the idea though? Anyway, next up is Guest himself playing a small town hick type with a bloodhound. Other regular Guest movie team players Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara play a married couple, Levy of course being the nerdy half the couple, whilst O'Hara is, or was, a bit of a slut. Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock play an executive yuppie-esque husband and wife couple that have major anger/lifestyle issues, Parker Posey's character is highly neurotic causing virtually all of the panic and grief. And finally Jennifer Coolidge plays a big dumb blonde (unsurprisingly) who is a trophy wife for some very old dude, but at the same time she is actually having an affair with their dog trainer, played by Jane Lynch.

We spend small amounts of time with each dog owner as each of their stories progress. Starting at their various homes across the country as they all begin their journey's to the show, how they look after their dogs, arrival, accommodation and of course the actual show group by group. As I have already said, each of the dog owners have their own unique, over the top quirks which are admittedly predictable and cliche, but at the same time well performed. The main humour in the movie is watching how each of these people go about their daily routines with themselves and of course their dogs. Its highly engaging to watch the gay couple and the way they act (and dress), their different styles (think 'The Birdcage'), naturally their little pooch is spoilt rotten. Parker Posey's character is a complete nervous wreck, severely neurotic and a total bitch because of it, I found this (her) to be quite sexy actually. Watching her and her other half fight over petty little things is actually really fun, you feel awkward and embarrassed just watching, the performances are that good. The duo are like a car crash, you just can't help but look, its almost like morbid curiosity to watch these people fight and bicker in public.

Guest himself doesn't actually play that much of an interesting character, a humble hick that sounds a bit slow, he has his little idiosyncrasies of course but nothing that is outstandingly funny. His character is actually the most regular and less outrageous of the bunch. Eugene Levy and O'Hara are probably the most cliched pairing in the movie (the stereotypical gays aside), I think it was obvious that Levy would be some kind of geek, and boy do they pile on the geek here, even giving him two left feet to appear even more pathetic. It is amusing to watch these two as they meet up with various people on their travels, the gag being Cookie (O'Hara) keeps bumping into blokes she once slept with back in the day. The whole angle is kinda corny admittedly but its Levy's reactions you're looking out for. Lastly the weakest of the lot goes to Coolidge as the blonde bimbo having an affair with her female dog trainer. Jane Lynch holds her own well as you'd expect, but I feel they could gone further with these two, a bit more naughty perhaps, it all just felt a bit bland and lacking.

The highlight of the film is the actual show of course, and it doesn't disappoint visually that's for sure. Pretty much looks like they used a real venue for the show, a packed capacity of extras, plenty of real dog owners...probably real competitors, probably real judges etc...the works. It also appears that the cast genuinely did train with the dogs and go through the hoops with them as it were, it all looks very real, true to the documentary style. Set against this level of realism is the typically brash all American commentator played by Fred Willard who kills it! This guy really ups the game so to speak, his obvious lack of any knowledge on the proceedings, along with his stereotypically fast sports style of commentary is brilliantly funny at times. The fact that he is partnered up with a smart, well spoken, no-nonsense Brit commentator (Jim Piddock) makes this scenario all the more delicious. Seeing Piddock's British dog expert character smiling politely at Willard's loud lowbrow American commentator as he comes out with his inane foot-in-mouth comments, is a glory to behold.

The movie is obviously all about stereotypes and satire, all the characters are typically cliche and predictable, behaving exactly how you would expect them too. I guess all Guest movies are in the same vein character wise, but this one felt more so to me. What did surprise me was the fact I was actually engaged in the plot, lets be honest here when you read that the film is all about a dog show, you could be forgiven for thinking the premise might not appeal. Again though, this does appear to be a typical Guest trait, choosing quite unusual (and generally mundane) plot scenarios that befit everyday life for everyday folk, to a degree, but not always. This just goes to show how good the comedy, writing and improv work is from all involved, that and its an original concept too, which is a breath of fresh air (give it a chance). I think anyone who knows what to expect from Guest will undoubtedly enjoy this, people not in know may need a bit more time to get into it, but I'm sure will get the hang of it quickly (surely everyone knows what to expect with Eugene Levy involved).
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2014
The most brilliant offering from Christopher Guest, with a fantastically versatile and talented troupe of improv performers. True genius at work in this film, at every level.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2011
Christopher Guest directs this very funny mockumentary that is supported by a great cast of actors. Best in Show is one crazy film, and if you love these types of films then give it a shot. Best in Show takes a look at the competitive dog shows, and makes fun of it by showing how ridiculous some competitors get. This is a good film that is wonderfully directed and acted. Best in Show is a funny mockumentary and is one of Christopher Guest's best films. I enjoyed the film very much, and the cast delivered funny, quirky and crazy performances. Best in Show is one of the funniest mockumentaries in a while, and this is a must see for people who enjoy mockumentaries. Best in Show captures the craziness that surrounds competitive dog shows perfectly. Though at times, the film misses the mark, there is enough good things going on on-screen to make this watchable, and with the great cast that Christopher Guest has at hand, the film works well enough to be a memorable comedy. Best in Show has enough laughs to keep you interested and it delivers a new type of comedic film going experience. Sure the film is not perfect, but it's guaranteed to make you laugh. Best in Show is one of the funniest mockumentaries since this is Spinal Tap, and is very entertaining with this cast of crazy actors. A fun film that's worth watching, and is a must see for dog lovers as well.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2010
Best in show is about a bunch of dog lover's journey to be the best in show. They come from all over the USA with a uinqe way to make their dog the best.
Who will become best in show?
Lacking acting
Lacking some plot
Really let you see what it like to be in a dog show.
Really good dogs.
Funny at times.
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2011
Buck Laughlin: And to think that in some countries these dogs are eaten.

Best in Show, from the master of the mocumentary Christopher Guest, is a very funny movie. Although, not as hilarious as Waiting For Guffman, Best in Show still hits it's target. Guest is so good at taking a not-so-popular subject and making it incredibly funny. This takes awhile to really get going, but once it does it's pretty much non-stop laughs. It really takes form once the dog show actually begins.

Christopher Guest uses his usual cast and the standouts to me are Jane Lynch and Fred Willard. Fred Willard as the dog show commentator is priceless and provides the great majority of the laughs. The rest of the cast is really good as well. I find that I only like some of these actors when they appear in a Christopher Guest movie, such as Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge.

The humor in Christopher Guests mocumentaries is not for everyone and I'm never surprised when I hear someone say they hate his movies. His comedies don't use the usual types of humor. It's kind of subtle and dry, but still really funny.
Super Reviewer
½ May 1, 2011
I admit that I am not the greatest fan of Christopher Guest mockumentaries, but even I thought this one was pretty great.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2007
Not quite as good as Spinal Tap or Waiting for Guffman, but a really strong entry in the mockumentary genre.
Super Reviewer
January 22, 2011
This movie is in a tie with "This Is Spinal Tap" for the best mock-u-mentary ever. This movie is a simple, but brilliant concept with a perfect execution. Its simple, a "documentary" that focuses on the (mostly insane) dog owners who are on there way to one of the biggest dog shows in the U.S. The first part of this movie establishes the dogs and their owners. The opening scene is almost worth the price of admission in establishing the owners of a gray weimeraner and... Well, I won't spoil the rest, but its funny. The other contenders are a gay couple and their Shih Tzu, a woman reminiscent of Anne Nicole Smith and the real dog trainer's (played by Jane Lynch) poodle; a man and his wife from Florida (the wife went around a LOT to say the least prior to the marriage) that own a Norwich Terrier; an incomprehensible hick (played by Christopher Guest in one of his funniest roles) and his Bloodhound. The second part focuses on the dog show itself, and this is where the movie kicks the hilarity into high gear (and considering how funny the first part is, that's saying a lot). This is mostly because of Fred Willard playing one of the commentators of the dog show, and he is so rude, so dumb, and downright straight faced about it. I'm surprised his fellow commentator doesn't burst out laughing, but he keeps a straight face as a very posh British man. If you've ever seen a dog show or (especially) if you have owned/currently own a dog, you must see this. Its hilarious to the core and tons of fun to watch. Is it better than "This Is Spinal Tap"? I think its more accessible (Best in Show has a PG-13 and This Is Spinal Tap has a well-deserved R), but in my mind, there at a tie. But no matter which you think is better, this is a funny funny movie.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2007
A flat-out funny mocumentary of the people involved in dog shows, and how competitive they are against one another. One of the most original comedies ever constructed, with hilarious, side-splitting performances from the whole cast and masterful direction from Christopher Guest. Without a doubt one of my favorite comedies, and one that should be viewed more than once - it's a blast.
Super Reviewer
May 10, 2010
As much as I love mockumetaries, I've yet to fall in love with any of Christopher Guest's beloved movies. And I really don't know why. I'm a huge fan of clever, understated humor, but I can't get past being mildly entertained by those of Guest's films that I've seen.

I will say that I enjoyed Best in Show more than This is Spinal Tap. Mainly because you don't have to know very much about dog shows and owners to enjoy the jokes. Spinal Tap relied heavily on being around during that time period and knowing a bit about the subject matter. That's great if you match those criteria, but not so swell for me.

Best in Show benefits from being about something that inherently has a lot of potential for humor. I mean, it's about a DOG SHOW! If you can't manage a few guffaws out of that setup, i honestly don't know what to say. I laughed out loud several times, personally. I just was never quite amused as often as I was hoping to be.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2010
Dogs and dogowners, bowsers, funny.
Super Reviewer
½ March 4, 2006
Just as funny today as it was when I first saw it.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2007
Best in Show, if you'll pardon the pun, is incisive. I could have spared myself that and called it clever or funny or something, but then I wouldn't have felt quite as original. This movie is full of unforgettable personalities and bizarre, off-kilter humor. A definite watch.

Gets an extra half a star for Parker Posey, who kicked unbelievable ass. Seriously one of my new favorite comedy characters.

"...That's a parrot."
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2007
This was pretty funny but not for everyone. I won't say its "smart humor" but it is a very subtle humor. It has a great cast in it as well.
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2007
Christopher Guest films are the best! This one is very funny and there are many little twists along the way.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2007
Guest's best parody with his faithful ensemble on top form
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2007
A mildly amusing mockumentary from Christopher Guest that suffers for the fact that anyone who has seen Louis Theroux or similar knows that there are far weirder people than this in real life! But there are certainly laughs to be had here, largely from Fred Willard's hilariously inept (although worryingly realistic) commentator.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2007
Hilarious Dog Show movie with Christopher Guest and his gang of movie regulars. It was a bit less funny than "Waiting for Guffman". I loved the scene where Parker Posey went frantically shopping for a stuffed bee toy for her doggie. There are some interesting and funny personalities with their dogs. Some were a bit dry and unfunny. The gay-owned dogs were a treat to see.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2007
Not as funny as I expected, but there are some great characters. It's a three-star: the extra half is for the hilarious deleted scenes on the DVD.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2007
Absolutely in stitches --
Page 1 of 176