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copyright ©1999-2000

flick pick | Waiting for Guffman 1996
Directed by: Christopher Guest
Starring: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey
Language: English
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Plot synopsis This mockumentary follows the story of Corky St. Clair, the flamboyant theatre director of a small-town troupe that’s performing a play to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the founding of their hometown of Blaine, MO. The troupe’s a hodge-podge of local non-talents, including a dentist who fancies himself a comedian, a travel agent husband-wife team [who despite their profession have never set foot out of MO], and a devoted Dairy Queen worker. Despite the lack of anything resembling inherent gift or acquired thespian skill, the entire troupe, Corky included, is tirelessly committed to creating a show that will be something truly special. Convinced of the show’s brilliance, Corky invites a New York theater big-wig, Mort Guffman, to the play's opening night, with the hope that Mr. Guffman will be so bowled over by the production that the troupe will be asked to bring their musical to New York.

Review Most people will recognize writer/actor Christopher Guest (Corky) as the hilariously dim-witted Nigel from the classic rock mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. He’s just as dead-on funny here, playing a character who, while light years away from Nigel in terms of personality, shares with that earlier character an absurdly over-inflated sense of self-importance. The rest of the cast is just as well-played; there's a terrifically spontaneous, improvisatory feeling to the acting that makes this movie a very believable fake documentary. What’s funniest [and most frightening] about Waiting for Guffman is how authentic some of these characters seem – with all their quirks, neuroses, and delusions of grandeur, they’re weirdos, sure, but god, so familiar, like people we’ve met in real life [or at the very least, seen in real documentaries]. You’ll find yourself cringing and laughing at the small-town mindset, stubborn naivete, gleeful tackiness and misguided zeal of the good citizens of Blaine, but in the end, you can’t help but sympathize with them.



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