Waiting for Guffman

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Christopher Guest

REVIEWED: 09-22-97

Christopher Guest--one of the creators of the classic "mockumentary" This Is Spinal Tap--employs a somewhat similar format for this winning comedy. Ostensibly a newsy portrait of a small-town theatrical production, Guffman follows eager director Corky St. Clair (Guest) as he rounds up the most talented dentists, travel agents, and salesclerks in Blaine, Mo., for a musical salute to the town's history. The knowing pokes at amateur thespians (played by Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, and Parker Posey) are side-splittingly funny, but they're handled with an almost profound sweetness. The key to unlocking the film's deeper resonance is understanding that it's not a true "mockumentary"; there is no visible interviewer tracking these would-be stars. If the players turn to the camera and talk about their dreams, it's only because they've imagined that someone is watching, and that their lives are worth filming. They'll get no argument here.

--Noel Murray

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Waiting for Guffman

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Waiting for Guffman
Waiting for Guffman

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