Friday, 22 January 2010


Paving the way for a series of further mockumentaries using the same cast, Christopher Guest’s Waiting For Guffman follows the story of an amateur theatre company in Blaine, Missouri. Leading the group is flamboyant director Corky St. Clair (portrayed by Guest himself), who decides to throw on a special production chronicling the history of Blaine. The film features interviews with the theatre group’s players, including intrinsically Jewish dentist Dr. Alan Pearl, dispassionate Dairy Queen worker Libby Mae Brown, and enthusiastic travel agent couple Ron and Sheila. The production hits many fundamental issues, mostly concerning the actors’ limited talents, but St. Clair assuages his cast that they will gain a positive reception care of elusive Broadway producer Mort Guffman.

The set-up of the film clearly mirrors Guest’s own relationship with his cast, as each actor is given ample opportunity to flaunt their comedic abilities. But despite inspired turns from Eugene Levy, Fred Willard and Catherine O’Hara, it is Guest’s performance which steals the show. Corky St. Clair is a wonderfully demented individual, the epitome of delusional theatre egos, and is an obvious inspiration for the character of Mr. G in Summer Heights High. Occasionally, the improvised nature of the film gets a little grating, and the arc of the story is predictable, particularly as Guest has selected an easy target. Nonetheless, Waiting for Guffman deserves a watch, and would make a great introduction to the world of Christopher Guest for those put off by the cultishness of This Is Spinal Tap.

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