No-one can deny that the British love their dogs, but Best in Show
proves that the Americans are just as canine crazy. Christopher Guest's (This is Spinal Tap
, Waiting for Guffman
) latest mockumentary looks at the lives and dodgy doggie loves of the contestants in the USA's most prestigious dog show, The Mayflower. The comedy is observational and mostly improvised, but there are also some genuinely hilarious set pieces and running gags as well as some perfectly timed one-liners, all of which repay repeated viewing. Owners really do become like their dogs as Guest presents a parade of brilliantly observed caricatures, revealing their human weaknesses and quirks and defying you not to find something immensely likeable about each one. Guest slowly introduces us to the principal players in a series of formal interviews and fly-on-the-wall profiles. Meet life partners Scott Donlan and Stefan Vanderhoof with their kimonos and matching Shih Tzus; a trophy wife who shares a love of soup and snow peas with her aged, billionaire husband; the suburban couple, Gerry and Cookie Fleck (brilliantly underplayed by co-writer Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara); incredibly highly strung lawyers the Swans and their dysfunctional Weimaraner; and Guest himself as the drawling Southern fishing shop owner and bloodhound breeder Harlan Pepper. This is Guest at his irreverent best.
On the DVD: The pin-sharp widescreen 1.85:1 anamorphic picture means the viewer can really appreciate the film's cinematic nuances, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack means that you don't miss any of the dialogue subtleties either. But the principal attractions are the 15 or so deleted scenes and the brilliant audio commentary by Guest and Eugene Levy which adds yet another comedic dimension to this mockumentary. The theatrical trailer is also thrown in for good measure. The only feature missing is the profiles of real dog owners and their canine loves that featured on the Region 1 version. --Kristen Bowditch