Mascots is the latest mockumentary from Christopher Guest (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, etc) and is centered around the many quirky contestants competing in a mascot competition.
The film stars Guest regulars such as Parker Posey playing an overly-serious “modern” dancer, Fred Willard playing a daft coach, Jane Lynch playing one of the guest judges and Chris O’Dowd playing “The Fist”.
Before I begin ripping into this film, let me just say that I did laugh quite a bit. It wasn’t consistently funny but there were a fair number of jokes to find hilarious.
And now I commence the ripping…
The plot sounds a lot like Best in Show and that is because it is. Mascots feels like a rehash of Best in Show only rushed and a lot less authentic in its execution. The beauty of mockumentaries is that you can make the comedy feel like reality whereas this feels very much scripted and rehearsed.
The comedy style itself in this film can be very funny at times but only if you’re already familiar with the work of Christopher Guest. If you aren’t, the timing and sense of humour may seem alien so I’d suggest watching one of his previous films beforehand.
I’m not going to say that mockumentaries are known for their well-rounded stories but Mascots doesn’t have a single good one. They added a lot of characters for what I assumed were comedic purposes, yet they used a handful of them for stories which weren’t properly paced or necessarily needed. Either take out some characters and focus on the remaining stories or keep all the characters and throw out their arcs altogether (I don’t think anyone would’ve minded that).
A great joy which I find in movies is personal comfort. The kind of movie which takes almost no effort to watch but you’re always glad to pop it in the DVD player on a rainy day and Best in Show is one of those films. This? It doesn’t take much effort to watch but I still would not consider it as easy-going.
As far as the performances go… eh…
As far as the cinematography goes… eh…
As far as the direction goes… eh.
If you’re making a mockumentary, here’s a helpful tip; make it look realistic even though it’s not real. Set it up like a documentary. That isn’t helped when there’s shot/reverse shot in scenes where a camera crew would not realistically be present.
If this film had more time put into the writing and the direction, it could’ve been up there with Best in Show. But instead, we get a film which borrows the concept heavily from Best in Show and does not manage to be as funny, easy-going or authentic.
If you are a Christopher Guest fan, you will enjoy this but not as much as you probably enjoyed his other films. I did enjoy a fair bit but as it progressed, everything slowly died down to result in a film which isn’t bad as much it is just disappointing.
I really don’t like comparing films to other films but it’s a little hard to do that when the plot is more or less the same.
What did you think of Mascots? Have you ever competed in a competition like this? Does such a thing exist?
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