They can't all be as funny as Waiting for Guffman. That said, while Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy's new film, For Your Consideration, doesn't measure up to their previous work, it's a simple, pleasant movie that neither aims high nor misses the mark.
Previous Guest and Levy scripts parodied competitive dog shows, small-town theater, and washed-up folk musicians-all in a mockumentary format that pretends to capture the essence of a particularly eccentric cast of characters. But unlike the largely improvisational humor in prior scripts (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, and A Mighty Wind), For Your Consideration drops the mockumentary format and goes with a straightforward scripted narrative.
This time, Guest and Levy skewer their own business-Hollywood and its ancillary hype machine. No one in Hollywood is safe. For Your Consideration doesn't just take on out-of-touch actors, but also smarmy and out-of-control celebrity reporters (Mary Hart?) and even overly sensitive film reviewers.
But self-important actors take the brunt of the satire as a group of veteran actors come together to shoot a low-budget picture named Home for Purim-a Jewish family drama set in the South. While the make-believe movie's two biggest stars deal with the embarrassment of flagging careers, an internet rumor associates "Home for Purim" with Oscar buzz-a sort of ego boost for actors in desperate need of affirmation.
As the hype builds, the actors become more and more self-involved, eventually turning to Botox and teeth whitening to align their appearances with their self-perception. And when the hype bubble bursts, For Your Consideration's audience witnesses how those possibly least able to handle disappointment handle defeat. It's not pretty. And that's funny.
For Your Consideration earned a PG-13 rating for sexual references and very brief, but very harsh, language. It may not be Guest and Levy's funniest work, but it may be the duo's most biting satire. And for a production in a town averse to self-criticism, that's at least something.