Best in Show

  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Hilarious and offbeat, but humor is pretty grownup.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 90 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The characters in the movie do love and treat their animals well, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness.

Positive role models

Many of the characters are kindly to their animals and to each other and win the big competition by fair, not foul, means. But some characters say cruel things to each other, such as the dad who threatens to gouge out his kid's eyes and calls him a "freak."


Almost nonexistent save for a reference to a long-ago parent's suicide, and one scene where a wound-too-tight dad tries to get his son down from a roof by threatening him with violence: "I'll punch you in the eyes until they're jelly!" he shrieks. There is also some graphic talk about said father's job, which is trying to keep suicides from jumping (usually unsuccessfully).


There is a little bit of sex talk, mostly to one character depicted as having been promiscuous in the past, but nothing too explicit. There is a passionate same-sex kiss and some insults leveled at gay people, as when one character refers to another (gay) character as "prancing around."


A few curses: "I s--t you not." There are also several references to "bitch" but usually referring to a female dog

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There is a party where guests hold drinks but no one acts drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Best in Show is a hilarious but very dry mockumentary about the dog-show world will likely bore kids. There is some cursing, including a notable scene where a father threatens his son with horrific violence and calls him a "freak." One character is depicted as having been promiscuous in her past, and many men come on to her in social situations using coarse language ("I banged a lotta waitresses in my time"), to the consternation of this character's husband. Several characters in the cast are depicted as being gay and there is a very passionate surprise kiss between two female characters who later proclaim each other "dynamite in the sack." This one's best for adults and teens who enjoy dry absurdity, and anyone who has a show dog or is interested in the dog show world.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Director Christopher Guest takes on people who participate in dog shows in this mockumentary. Married uptight lawyers the Swans (Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock) own a neurotic Weimaraner named Beatrice, who just hasn't been the same since she saw them having sex. Cookie Fleck (Catherine O'Hara), is a woman with a ribald past who owns Norwich terrier and is married to a man with, literally, two left feet (Eugene Levy). Stefan and Scott (Michael McKean and John Michael Higgins) are a happy couple and the owners of an adorable Shih Tzu. Sherri Ann is a trophy wife and the owner of the reigning champ. Her dog's trainer (Cristy Cummings) handles more than the dog. Guest himself plays a Southern bait-and-tackle store owner with a bloodhound. And Fred Willard appears as the hopelessly untalented announcer.

Is it any good?


Fans of offbeat humor will get a big kick out of this follow-up to Waiting for Guffman, but there will be more appreciative, "Oh, that's funny!" comments than outright laughs. Director Christopher Guest has a repertory company of top-notch improvisational actors. He outlines the story to each of them and then pretty much lets them create their own characters and dialogue. This gives his movies a wonderful sense of depth, as it really seems that we are getting brief glimpses of real characters who are just as interesting when the camera isn't on them. But it also means that the humor tends to come from small moments and from character rather than from jokes.

Catherine O'Hara is a delight as Cookie Fleck, and one of the movie's best running jokes is that almost everyone Cookie meets rapturously recalls some past encounter with her. Jennifer Coolidge is sensational as a cross between Lady Macbeth and Anna Nicole Smith.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the style of this movie. What is a mockumentary? What exactly is this movie mocking? What kind of humor do the actors use?

  • Where else have you seen these actors? Do they always play the same kinds of roles? What sets many of these actors apart from Hollywood stars?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 29, 2000
DVD release date:May 15, 2001
Cast:Jay Brazeau, Michael Hitchcock, Parker Posey
Director:Christopher Guest
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language and sex-related material.

This review of Best in Show was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bydrummerchick21 February 21, 2010

Great for 12 and up

This is one of the best movies ever made. Hilarious characters and plot line. It may be offensive to homophobics, but they live under a rock anyway.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written bytomp April 9, 2008

Great movie for adults

Too sophisticated for kids. The movie mocks all kinds of human foibles. It takes maturity beyond mid-teens to understand that the humor is directed at all of us, not the particular types -- gay, handicapped, repressed, southern, old, yuppie -- portrayed.
Teen, 13 years old Written bymeganargetlam April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

You said...

"Positive portrayal of gay characters" is iffy. I don't see what is wrong with this. Social behavior may be iffy for other reasons, but for positive portrayal of gays? I don't believe that that is a bad thing. The movie isn't good for kids, but not because of the gays.


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