A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What 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.
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What's the story?
Director Christopher Guest takes on people who participate in dog shows in BEST IN SHOW. 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 Best in Show'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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the style of Best in Show. 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?
- In theaters: October 29, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: May 15, 2001
- Cast: Jay Brazeau, Michael Hitchcock, Parker Posey
- Director: Christopher Guest
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and sex-related material.
- Last updated: September 24, 2020
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