Best in Show

Rating:

A Top Prize

Main Cast: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Michael McKean

Director: Christopher Guest

There are those who devote their entire lives to pets, and Best in Show takes a mostly gentle poke at them. It has some teeth but is not condescending. Rather, it takes certain characters and runs over the top with them.

The plot involves a great pet show in Philly and five “families” who travel there to compete. We have the busty-blond trophy wife of a millionaire (Jennifer Coolidge) and her professional handler (Jane Lynch), the flamboyant Shih-Tzu handler (John Michael Higgins) and his more sedate hairdresser partner (McKean), the good-ole boy fly shop owner (Guest) and his trusty bloodhound, a very yuppie and brutally intense couple (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock), and lastly a “very familiar”-looking wife (O’Hara) and her long-suffering husband (Levy).

We spend time with each set of competitors as they prepare for the show, arrive, and get down to the business of grooming their pets. I found it very amusing, but true, that the dogs mirror the owners, both in looks and personality. The owners also take a more serious interest in the show than their pets, who seem at times to be lost and just want to go home. And I simply cannot pass up mentioning the loopy commentator (Fred Willard), who lives in another world.

I enjoyed this movie very much. I loved the tone and the way each family interacts. The scene where the fly-shop owner is trying to talk bait with the stunned yuppies is a gem, and the nerdy terrier-owner proves himself surprisingly hip, even if he does have two left feet (literally!). This is another wonderful mockumentary from the minds of Guest and Levy and should not be missed, even if you aren’t quite as fanatical a dog lover as the characters are.

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