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
Commentary by Director Christopher Guest
Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Christopher Guest
Cast/Crew biographies and production notes
Widescreen 1:85 anamorphic
Dolby 5.1 English, German, French
Available subtitles: English, French German
Hearing Impaired English, German
One of the great things about ‘Best In Show’ is that it is played as a straight documentary, and we never get any glimpses of the supposed documentary makers filming the would be champions proud owners and there are no nudges and winks to the camera. Very much as real documentaries do, ‘Best In Show’ follows five different couples from vastly different social backgrounds but all childless, with the exception of the four legged friends, as they seek tp win the title of top dog at the annual Mayflower dog show. It is very much fly on the wall and even though all the characters might be characterised as stereotypical, there is actually very little caricature, which is what makes it immensely funny and if you didn’t know better, you might even believe it was real. There are no cheap jokes that revolve around dog crap and most importantly of all ‘Best In Show’ is consistently funny all the way through.
There is so much to enjoy about this movie. Christopher Guest subtly directs it and it has a sharp and acutely well-observed script. It very much affectionately mocks the owner’s whilst never seeking to either mock man’s best friend or the world of dog shows. In fact I would say that to really enjoy this movie it helps to be a dog lover, you even find yourself laughing because in certain parts you recognise that some of the behaviour exhibited by the neurotic owners is not so different to ourselves with our own furry friends.
The cast of this movie includes no big stars but many familiar faces. For example Eugene Levy, the movie’s co-author, who is previously best known for his role as the emabressing Dad in the American Pie movies appears as the literally two left-footed owner of a Norwich Terrier. His wife is played by Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone, Dick Tracy), who has a somewhat colourful past that seems to include a string of lovers in every bar in every town, much to Gerry’s embaressment. There is also a gay couple played by Michael McKean, another Spinal Tap alumnus and John Michael Higgins (Ally MacBeal) who show shih-tzus and in the case of the latter, camp it up outrageously. Parker Posey (Scream 3) and Michael Hitchcock (Happy, Texas) play neurotic yuppie lawyers and parents to a Weimaraner apparently traumatised after seeing them perform ‘the congress of the cow’ from the karma sutra. Director Christopher Guest (Waiting For Guffman) plays a redneck bloodhound owner who can name every type of nut but tackiest of all is the gold-digging Sherri married to a senile millionaire about to shuffle off this mortal coil played by Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde), who is on the brink of a lesbian affair with the trainer of her beloved standard poodle. Ed Begley jnr even puts in a cameo appearance as a hotel manager. All the actors perform there parts with great subtlety and it is to their credit that many of the lines were apparently improvised.
If ‘Best In Show’ is for the most part a movie that keeps you quietly chuckling, it is also a film that will have you laughing out loud when the contestants finally reach the main event (The Mayflower Dog Show), as commentary for the show is provided in a sports cast style by Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard) who openly flaunts his ignorance of all things canine to comical effect and we are also treated to the sight of Gerry, two left feet ‘n all parading his Norwich Terrier around the show ring. This is a little gem of a movie that I highly recommend.
Writer and director Christopher Guest, along with Eugene Levy (Waiting for Guffman), are not on unfamiliar territory, as Guest was involved with the writing and acting of 'Spinal Tap' a cult classic that remains fondly in the hearts of many eighties child, who would have to admit 'yeah, we did actually act like that.' 'Best in Show' contains the same amount of research and likeable characters, you may need the right kind of humour to enjoy it, but those who got a kick out of 'Spinal Tap' will enjoy this new outing by Guest and Levy.
The focus point of the film is as much about the characters as the dogs, and the chemistry between both actor and dog is immediately enjoyable and reality plausable. Guest plays the part of bloodhound owner and southern fly fisher and vantriloquist Harlan Pepper. Former high school nerd Gerald 'Gerry' Fleck (Eugene Levy) and Cookie Guggelman Fleck (Catherine O'Hara) plays a promiscuous flirt with a global reputation it seems as they team up as the most unlikely couple and proud owners of a musically tormented terrier 'Winky.' The homosexually hilarious Shih-Tzu owners Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean) and Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins)are full of on the edge innuendo and doting owners of their pets. Yuppie lawyers Meg and Hamilton Swan (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock) are the extremely competitive owners of their psychologically damaged Weimaraner. Sherri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge) is the bimbo trophy wife and owner of the glamourous and well trained poodle, courtesy of Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch) who perhaps has other motives than a Dog Show. This superb cast of comedians make 'Best In Show' an enjoyable and highly recommended watch.
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