There is something impressive about what Christopher Guest does. He is undeniably the “king of mockumentaries” having done six feature length versions including such classics as “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” and “Waiting for Guffman.” That does not even include the greatest of all mockumentaries, This is Spinal Tap (which Guest starred in, but did not direct). The most amazing part of these films is how much of them are actually ad-libbed.
His latest mockumentary debuted on Netflix in October showing that Guest still has the ability to take the ridiculous, play it straight, and find humor in it. This time, we are at the 8th World Mascot Association Championship in Anaheim, California. competing for the prestigious Gold Fluffy where we meet our eclectic parade of characters who do not understand that they are the joke.
We see many of Guest’s normal troupe of actors return for this film including Jane Lynch, Ed Begley, Jr, John Michael Higgins, Parker Posey, Don Lake, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer, Bob Balaban and Jennifer Coolidge.
This is one reason why this movie has a feel or familiarity about it. The second reason would be the basic story of this mockumentary has been told by Guest before.
Still, there are some funny moments in the film, and the dialogue is very strong. You can tell that these actors are comfortable in pulling off the task set before them by Christopher Guest. Guest, himself, makes an appearance as Corky St. Clair, one of his famous characters from Waiting for Guffman. Corky did feel pretty wasted here though.
I enjoyed several of the mascot presentations at the World Championships, especially the character played by Christopher Moynihan- Jack the Plumber and Tom Bennett’s third generation Owen Golly, Jr- the British inspired Sid the Hedgehog. Outside of these characters, the faces beneath the heads are not as well developed as I would have hoped. So while I pulled for both of these characters because I had become invested in them, most of the others were just there.
The previous film Guest directed was 2006’s “For Your Consideration”, based on creating an Oscar worthy film, and Mascots is about the same level. Both were solid films that can be considered better because of the gimmick behind them, but they do not reach the extremely high level of This is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind or Best in Show.
Yet, for an easy watch on Netflix, you can’t go wrong with this. There are plenty of laughs and some of the mascot routines are clever. It just does not reach the status of mockumentary that Guest normally reaches.