From the creative mind of Christopher Guest, the man that brought you Spinal Tap, came this mockumentary about 5 entries into a national dog show. It is exactly as you would expect, if what you expected is Spinal Tap but with dogs. Improvised comedy, eccentric characters, and most importantly, unpredictability, this is a comedy that delivers on many levels. Each entrant is more obscure and bizarre than the last, with their interaction between their dogs becoming stranger by the second, but delivered with the utmost sincerity and conviction that their existence is believable. Shades of mockumentaries that have followed since are seen on screen here, comparable to the likes of Chris Lilley’s “We Can Be Heroes” or Clayton Jacobson’s “Kenny”, these are people that are not used to the limelight, but would happily dwell in it when the camera is on them, and as a result, they do extraordinary things.
Essentially a film of 2 halves, the preparation for the show in the first half is largely as described above. The second half when the show actually takes place, becomes a whole different being, with Fred Willard pushing the absurdity to the absolute limits with his inappropriate, unfamiliar and ill-informed sports-styled commentary. Just when you have become accustomed to the nonsense taking place for the show itself, this dimension almost becomes unbearable but inexplicably funny as the non-existent tension attempts to be continually injected into the proceedings. It’s a funny concept, one that can often feel like it drags at times (much like an actual documentary), but the combination of clever subtleties and ridiculous over-the-top dramatics make this one thoroughly enjoyable film.
Best in Show is being shown at Picturehouse Central on May 5th 2016, as part of their Dog Season.
Enjoyed this film back in the day. Jason Bates was in it as well with Willard and was really good. This is before Arrested Development kicked off his second career.