Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Best in Show (2000)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I remember seeing this movie when it first came out. I was aware of what a mockumentary is at the time, but I still wasn’t that interested. For those that don’t know, a mockumentary is a mock documentary. In this case, it’s a fictional account of several people entering a dog show, each hoping for the ultimate title of best in show.

The first half of the movie sets up the various characters. There’s one couple that has a Weimaraner. The two of them met in Starbucks. Actually, they met in two different Starbucks that were across the street from each other. They also like to shop out of J. Crew catalogs so as not to come in contact with anyone.

In another case, there’s a well-endowed woman who married presumably for a quick inheritance and has a standard poodle, who will be handled by another woman. (I have to ask: If they have standard poodles, wouldn’t that imply substandard poodles, as well?)

The second half deals with the actual show, which is the 125th Annual Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. The couple with the Weimaraner is particularly stressed out. They really seemed over the top. (The movie begins with the couple and the dog in therapy. If I was that dog, I’d be depressed, too.) Others also have varying degrees of stress, but nothing like them. They actually obsess over a little bumblebee toy for the dog. For many of the others, it’s simply a matter of trying to get the dogs just right.

The dog show had two commentators; one seemed to know what he was talking about and the other seemed to know very little, making for an odd-couple pairing. Some of the discussion between the two seemed sensible, such as what a miniature breed is. Other parts of the commentary were a little bit more ridiculous, such as having a bloodhound wear an outfit reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes.

I don’t really watch dog shows, so I can’t really tell how accurately they were portrayed. It looks like the movie was intended for people like me, which would be people that have a passing knowledge of dog shows. I know enough to know the basic concept of what goes on, but not much else.

While I thought the movie was amusing, I didn’t think that it was particularly funny. I guess you’d have to know a little bit more about dogs, as the movie seems to be more of a commentary of that lifestyle. All of the people were a little too attached to their dogs.

Some of the humor was also a little crude. For instance, Eugene Levy plays a man with two left feet – literally. His wife seems to have dated every man they come in contact with on the way to the show.

I’d have to give this movie two stars. I really can’t recommend it. I almost stopped watching it at some points. I really think you’d be better off watching something else.

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