Waiting for Guffman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Waiting for Guffman Reviews

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November 11, 2013
The city of Blaine, Missouri wants something special to celebrate its 150th anniversary and so the Blaine Community Theatre is tasked with putting on a musical pageant. Penned and directed by that giant of the acting world, Corky St. Claire what can possibly go wrong? This is a brilliantly cringe-worthy, documentary style comedy which had me chuckling constantly as the utterly ludicrous characters and situations build towards the performance night. Christopher Guest directs, writes and stars as Corky St. Clare with a fine cast playing the oddball members of the acting group. It's so hard to pick a favourite out of the characters as they all help to make this a real ensemble piece that ribs and ridicules the tantrums, politics and shenanigans involved in amateur dramatic performances.
November 2, 2013
I am in the movie as I played for just a few mins
October 27, 2013
spoof documentary about a small town holding a stage production to celebrate their 150 years. Done be the same bloke that did spinal tap, it's quite funny, subtle humour, not bad.
October 13, 2013
This performance would have been fine if I wasn't expecting so much more from its "stars."
October 10, 2013
The story was filmed in small-town Texas. If you have ever experienced life in smalltown Bible belt, then this film will shred you with identification and riotous laughter: It's too close to the reality of what one finds in that milieu.
September 7, 2013
Not counting "Spinal Tap" which Rob Reiner directed, this is the first of the very hilarious series of Christopher Guest "mockumentaries." This one focused on the low stakes/high drama of local community theater. Surprising Cameo from Mr. Bently of Jefferson's fame. Fred Willard kills in this one.
August 12, 2013
This is one of my favorite movies of all time!! Every time I see it, I laugh out loud.
½ August 7, 2013
Very very unique and goofy comedy but smart and entertaining.
August 4, 2013
Has its moments, but not their best. Watch Best in Show or Spinal Tap instead.
August 1, 2013
Having observed the Little Theater/high school drama set in a couple of small towns over the years, I found this movie hilarious! Christopher Guest always delivers!
½ July 15, 2013
Fantastic. Guest uses fabulous improvisers and lets them do their thing. I could watch this over and over.
July 6, 2013
Steve Stark, Councilman: "He can act and he can sing and he can dance. There's only one other person in the world who can do all that, and that's Barbra Streisand."
June 27, 2013
If I did not have this movie in my life I would I would go home and bite my pillow
June 26, 2013
Christopher Guest crafts a winner in Waiting for Guffman, a hilarious character study of amateur actors full of effective deadpan.
June 21, 2013
For a movie you may or may not have heard of, this one has actually been enormously influential. It's also an immensely funny and, I think, quite poignant movie that works beautifully on its own terms. If you don't count the much earlier This Is Spinal Tap, then Waiting for Guffman would be writer/director/star Christopher Guest's first "mockumentary." This format has since been taken up by shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, and is by now quite familiar to most of us. But at the time, Guest was one of the first to do it.

This particular movie follows a group of eccentric, quirky characters as they strive to put on a play to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of their hometown, Blaine, Missouri. Leading them is Corky St. Claire (Guest himself), an exceedingly flamboyant man with the world's worst haircut, who moved back to Blaine after years of failing to become famous on Broadway. There's also the Jewish dentist Dr. Pearl (brilliant co-writer Eugene Levy), who dreams of being an old-fashioned vaudeville entertainer; Ron and Sheila (Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara), travel agents who have never been outside of the town they live in; and Libby (Parker Posey), the sweetheart Dairy Queen employee who wants to be a star.

The movie relies entirely on its characters, who are all bursting with enthusiasm and sincerity despite their total lack of talent. It's easy to imagine this material coming across as mean, and in the hands of someone less delicate than Guest it might have been. But the movie, much like Parks and Recreation, allows us to laugh at the characters' goofiness without actually looking down on them as people. Guest has used this same group of actors in the projects he's made since this movie - Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, etc. - and it's easy to see why. They're probably the funniest group of people in contemporary movies. Watching them is kind of like watching a bunch of funny uncles and aunts. Eugene Levy elevates every movie he's ever in, and Fred Willard is just such an irreplaceable, funny, old-fogey presence. Catherine O'Hara is also quite funny in a less showy way, and Parker Posey actually has a lot of real charm that she lends her character. Guest himself is hilariously over-the-top as Corky, but he plays it sincerely, never winking at the audience. Apparently the movie is almost entirely improvised by the actors - Guest gave them the basic storyline and their characters, but let them come up with everything from there and then just edited the resulting material into a movie. This seems like a tricky way to make a movie, but I guess you can't argue with results like this.

The movie's humor is off-kilter, and unlike many bigger-budget comedies it doesn't have obvious cues for the audience to laugh. If you can get into the spirit of it, though, it's one of the funniest movies around. The way the facts we learned about the history of the town in the first half of the movie become the subjects of the play's songs in the second half is priceless. If you at all enjoy the mockumentary comedy of much recent television, you should definitely go back to this minor classic where the format really got started.
Super Reviewer
½ June 17, 2013
It's really hard avoiding comparisons between this film and Best in Show since it does feature the same cast (though Best in Show had a few additions), the same crew and the same comedic style. Personally, I found Best in Show to be absolutely fantastic, and I may have even underrated it here, and I'd say this was just a step below that. The formula is largely the same, the actors are pretty much given complete freedom to improvise and play around with their characters. I've always been a proponent of improvisation, in comedy movies, since, when done right and this cast always does it right, it can lead to some hilarious moments that really feel organic and natural as opposed to rigid and forced. For example, Horrible Bosses had some great improvisation and it also had that rigidness where you couldn't deviate from the script one bit and that ended up dragging it down, for me. This film, obviously, benefits from the improvisation as they lead to some really hilarious moments and interactions between the cast. And that's another thing...the cast, as always in these Christopher Guest films, are always tremendous and fully of incredibly talented people that make the most out of the opportunity given to them. Perhaps if I had a problem with the film is that the comedy isn't really as consistent as it was in Best in Show. That film was a-laugh-a-minute type. In this one, you'd have one really funny scene followed by some jokes that fall flat before becoming hilarious again. That was probably the film's biggest problem, since I can't really complain about much else when it comes to this film. Some of the comedy does fall flat, but, at least 75% of it works, especially David Cross' cameo was particularly hilarious. And this might even be the type of film that gets better with repeated viewings and I wouldn't rule that out at all.
April 7, 2013
This movie is widely regarded as a "classic" mokumentary, and perhaps my expectations were too high. It was entertaining alright, but I found it a little flat.
April 6, 2013
deadpan, people. it's humor, too. find this movie and watch it, it was hilarious.
March 23, 2013
A so-so mockumentary. It's not bad; I've just seen others done better.
March 17, 2013
May very well be my favorite comedy of all time. If you've ever done anything in a local theatre you'll totally get it.
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