For Your Consideration (2006)

Director: Christopher Guest

Starring: Catherine O’Hara, Christopher Guest, Posey Parker, Harry Shearer, Jennifer Coolidge, Ricky Geravis, Eugene Levy

Written by: Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy

Running Time: 86 mins

Original Cert: 12A

Original UK Release: 9th February 2007

For Your Consideration is the fourth film devised by director Christopher Guest and comedy actor Eugene levy. Their unique approach to film making, come up with a story and situations and let the actors improvise the rest, has worked a storm for such films as Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show and A Mighty Wind. This time round, their target is Hollywood and the shallowness of actors. Unfortunately it fails, not because it isn’t funny but that it’s too easy a target for them.

Centering around the filming of a wartime drama, Home For Purim, a rumour is started that the lead actress, Marilyn Hack, is in line for a possible Oscar nomination. This starts in motion a series of less than humbling experiences with the press and her fellow actors, especially when two of the cast are also thrown into the mix for possible recognition.

Working with the regular group of actors from their previous films, this feels like a much safer, more routine comedy than Guest and Levy’s previous work. A satire on Hollywood is hardly the most original idea they could have come up with. We all know how loopy Hollywood can make people and the loopy characters that wander around the place. Starting up a rumour and letting it grow and grow is a fairly decent plot device but everything else just seems a little formulaic.

So we get Catherine O’Hara as the self absorbed, yet massively insecure actress who thinks she has a shot of an award. Harry Shearer as the actor normally recognised for his role as a hot dog in a commercial, giving the chance to prove himself, yet willing to humiliate himself at the same time. Posey Parker as the young up-and-coming desperate for a future career and so on. These are all characterizations we have seen a dozen times in other Hollywood satires.

Even the reliable Fred Willard and Jane Lynch, as TV gossip reporters, while still amusing, seem like caricatures of previous inventions from other films, particularly Willard, who just repeats his commentator from Best in Show. One of the downsides is the large amounts of characters that do pop up and don’t seem to make any impact. Michael McKean and Bob Balaban play the screenwriters of the film but are wasted. As is new team player, Ricky Gervais as the studio executive. He is, well, Ricky Gervais.

Having been a huge fan of the Guest/Levy comedies, particularly Best In Show, which still makes me laugh like crazy, I guess I was expecting great things. Their other films seem tighter, more controlled. This ambles along towards a very predictable ending. I am sure that if you are new to the gang and never seen their earlier stuff, you will still enjoy it. Trust me, I did enjoy it and there are some very funny moments (deciding on the poster for the film, for instance, is a blast). I just know that they are capable of so much more.


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