Parents' Guide to

Waiting for Guffman

By Ellen Dendy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Fab small-town spoof; subtle humor may bore kids.

Movie R 1997 84 minutes
Waiting for Guffman Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

Comedy gold!!

There is a fine line between satire and being mean, arguments can be made on either side whether this film crosses those lines or bulldozes over them. Guest nails community theatre in a small town and depending on which side you are on that will decide how you feel about this film. Guest and his band of thespians nail the idiosyncrasies and heartfelt emotion that communities put into their productions. Everyone in this film is comedy gold.
age 12+

Mockumentary OK for older tweens despite R rating

It is important to note that despite its R rating, Waiting for Guffman is a quirky mockumentary that any mature tween would be able to see. Waiting for Guffman received its R rating for strong language, and it is true, there is some salty vocabulary. In an audition, a man says he going to "do a scene from Raging Bull." He uses "f--k," about three times to describe sexual acts, in a comical way. Other swearing is minor, such as "bastard," and "ass." The profanity is the sole reason for the R rating, and for a mature tween or young teen, it shouldn't be a problem. Some minor sexual innuendo. A woman asks another woman what it's like to be with a circumcised man. There is reference to a man's "penis reduction." Reference a "vagina enlargement." A man starts to unzip his pants to show another man his penis, but he doesn't actually get far. Other comical sexual innuendo is rare and light, and may go over young viewers' heads. Overall, Waiting for Guffman is a charming, if not a little boring, mockumentary-style film about bringing a small community together over the supposed arrival of an acclaimed New York critic that your young teens and tweens will love if they can get around some of the mature moments.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (6 ):

From Blaine's bear-fighting founder to the town's extraterrestrial connections, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN is an enjoyably spoofy look at a small town and its oddball citizens. Guest's faux documentary approach gives viewers an amusing "fly on the wall" experience, and while the storyline is mostly tongue in cheek, the amateur musical feels authentic with its rickety sets and downright hilarious lyrics that only the locals can appreciate.

There's plenty to like about Guffman, but parents should be advised that, like Guest's other mockumentaries, this film is built around droll, quirky humor that may escape some kids -- especially the younger set, who may not get the eccentric, small town characters and will probably find the storyline a bit slow. But for those who do enjoy quirky little comedies, there's even more here than the clever script and hilarious performances; Waiting for Guffman in its own way emphasizes positive messages, including civic pride and working together toward a common goal.

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