Best in Show Reviews
As for the other characters, the cast is quite the heterogeneous mixture. There's Gerry and Cookie Fleck (Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara), a husband with two left feet -- and I really mean it -- and a wife with an extensive sexual history before meeting Gerry. Hamilton and Meg Swan (Michael Hitchcock and Parker Posey) are snobbish, self-entitled city dwellers who thrive on having everything run exactly as they envision, down to trashing a pet store owner for not owning the squeaky bumblebee toy that the couple had lost. John Michael Higgins and Michael McKean play homosexual lovers Scott and Stefan, two hair stylists from NYC whose loving interactions may be the most interesting thing going on with them. (There's one more person, but I'll mention him later.) In terms of pacing, everybody shared equal screen time, with small diversions in the dog show with Fred Willard as a too-raunchy-for-real-TV commentator. Mind you, everybody plays their roles with full conviction, and as a film chock full of character work, good on all of the actors for churning enough material to reach the 90-minute mark. New jokes are fully welcome, like the sympathetic hotel manager (Ed Begley Jr) who offers the Flecks the best hotel room that no money can buy, right next to the kitchen. After a while, however, the recurring jokes and go-to characteristic-based laughs wear thin.
I acknowledge now that the jokes were wearing thin, but at the time, I kid you not that I was sincerely rooting for somebody to win. My heart personally melted for the final character, a fly-fisher named Harlan (Christopher Guest, also director and "writer") whose relationship with his bloodhound was so unconventionally precious that I feared to see him possibly lose when the champion was to be announced. I didn't want to see anybody lose though, not even the yuppie Swans. That's where the actors' work truly prevailed. Everybody cared very much about their dogs being the champions, and that passion weaved a strong thread through otherwise disjointed, but mostly very funny character scenes. I'm curious what Waiting for Guffman is like.
Grade = 8.5/10