For Your Consideration is a let down overall. I’ve been a Christopher Guest guy for the past decade but as the credits rolled at the end of this one I was left wondering what went wrong. This disappointing feeling is something I’ve never had after one of Guest’s movies but I think I can trace the problems with this film to one key casting decision, the female lead. So yeah, it’s casting bickering 101 headed your way.
Catherine O’Hara plays an actress named Marilyn Hack in Guest’s satirical mockumentary of how the Oscar process works (or doesn’t). She’s been made aware of Oscar buzz on a film she’s shooting and we get an inside look on what happens when a bad indie project gets a ton of critical love. For me certain parts of the movie were extremely funny because I’ve seen the crazy effect the words “It could win an Oscar” have on everyone involved, from writers to press. The problem with O’Hara as the lead is that the role isn’t far enough from what she actually is, a 52 year-old actress trying to be a bit more than she’s earned. She’s a wonderful character actress and an essential ensemble cast memberÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ she’s just not the gal you want doing the heavy lifting. Guest uses basically the same cast for every movie (although he threw a pinch of Ricky Gervais in this one) and most of the combinations have worked. Sadly this one doesn’t.
The three films which put Guest at the top of my director’s list include Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. All three of these films were about an inch away from real life (which made their satirical value off the charts). Waiting for Guffman is probably the funniest overall as it tackles community theater. Best in Show goes after dog shows and A Mighty Wind slays the folk business even though it ends on a sentimental note. After those three I figured the Hollywood scene would have been easy comedy fodder for a director as strong as Guest but it seems as though I was wrong. Just to pile on, I also want to mention one more weakness with For Your Consideration, the music. Guest has a talent for a hilarious jingle but we don’t get served here.
I think everyone will get some chuckles which is why it’s getting an average grade. It did have plenty of laughs; It just didn’t have the huge tear inducing types that I’ve become accustomed to. Perhaps if Guest would have tackled how fake the glitz is in Hollywood, or if he’d taken a shot at how silly the Oscar voting process is there would have been more to chew on. With For Your Consideration he aims low on the totem pole by skewering an independent film. The problem was he had the wrong shooter and the target was far too low.