Movie Review 2007 #30: For Your Consideration

One of my friends at work is a big Christopher Guest fan (especially but not only for “This is Spinal Tap”), and on his suggestion and given that the Academy Awards are being given out today, I decided to see his latest movie. For Your Consideration gives the director a role, as well as a bevy of actors ranging from Eugene Levy to Fred Willard to Parker Posey

I was disappointed, especially after having seen much better movies about filmaking (State and Main, The Player).
For your Consideration is the story of a little film, Home for Purim, which gets caught up in Oscar hype. In the filming of the film, a hardworking, little recognized actress is casually mentioned as a possible Oscar nominee. This whips up a hysteria amongst the still-shooting film, as the director and actors deal with the possibilities of stardom and recognition for all.
The movie just seems to come up a bit short, IMO.While there are plenty of quirky characters, unusual actors, and amusing sequences, there is something lacking in this movie, a piece which is just missing. For example, and it is a bit of a spoiler, the movie, as the possible Oscar nominee buzz grows and grows, has its backers and producers suggest changes to the script to make it more mainstream. The final product is called “Home for Thanksgiving” rather than “Home for Purim.”–but we don’t ever get to see how it looks different on the screen after these changes. I felt quite cheated by this.
Also, the movie is played straight rather than as a quasi-documentary as so many of Guest’s other movies (eg Spinal Tap) are. I think it might have worked better in that style, rather than a traditional narrative. The movie doesn’t seem to like many of its actors and actresses, and its difficult to get sympathy for the plight of these hard working actors and director when they are plain unlikeable.
And so wither the characters, so goes the movie.