Friday, September 22, 2006

Purim? In a Film?

"For Your Consideration" is a film that centers on three actors who learn that their respective performances in the film Home for Purim, a drama set in the mid-1940s American South, is generating award-season buzz.

Purim?

More plot?

Try this:-

The film focuses on the cast and crew of a small film called "Home for Purim", about a dying Mother and the rest of her family as they come home for the Jewish Holiday Purim. Starring in the film-within-a-film is Maralyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara, in top form), a struggling actress. Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Moynihan. Half-way through production, Hack receives word of an internet rumour that her performance could earn her an Academy Award. Posey and Shearers' characters also get word that they too could be walking down the red carpet. The film follows the cast and crew as they make their way towards awards season, and shows us their highs and lows.

I just learned that plot outlines are really hard to do. Anyways, as for FYC; it's great. The funniest film I've seen all year (inches by Little Miss Sunshine). Guest truly is gifted when it comes to the comedy genre, and now he can put this on his resume as well.

One thing that is noticably different here than from Guests' previous works is the fact that he doesn't use a Mochumentary format. I was initially worried about this, but it all turns out fine. Those who *really* loved the "interviews" with the characters of the past films need not worry; the cast is interviewed in this movie as well, only we see the interviewers. FYC really pleases the crowd in that at the beginning of the movie you chuckle, but by the end it has you in stitches. The theatre I saw it with loved every minute of it; there were uproars of laughter even we first saw certain characters. No actual jokes were needed.

You can tell that Guest and the cast really have a ball doing this movie. They playfully rib Hollywood and everything associated with it, including two "Ebert and Roeper"-style critics, trashy entertainment tv shows, and more.

O'Hara steals the show as the washed-up Maralyn Hack. She steals every scene she's in for the last third of the movie, but to give away any of it would be giving away one of the funniest things on film this year. Posey and Shearer are also very good, with Posey going from bizzare-comic actress in the first half to relatable in the second. She, along with much of the rest of the cast, is criminally underrated. Jennifer Coolidge is without a doubt one of the funniest women working. She can speak one word in a film and it would leave the audience in stitches, and it's no exception here.

Playing the Heiress-turned-Producer of "Home for Purim", Coolidge is given a lot more to do here compared to the little time she had in A Mighty Wind. Eugene Levy and John Michael Higgins are both equally hilarious, but the two who had everybody laughing all the time are Fred Willard and Jane Lynch, both playing hosts of a trashy Entertainment show. From Willards' bleached fauxhawk to Lynchs' almost-scary robotic movements, these two chewed up the scenery and had the audience loving them.


or this one:-

The outrageously hilarious "For Your Consideration" was well worth the wait. Again delivered with comic precision by Guest's crack repertory company, his patented brand of parody -- call it gentle skewering -- takes affectionate but deadly aim at its awards buzz mania target and the results aren't just funny, they're face-hurting funny.

Look for boxoffice results that could well top the $16 million-$17 million taken by "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind," especially if -- dare we say it? -- the picture should itself generate some of that nasty awards season buzz.

Certainly a major candidate would have to be the ever-brilliant Catherine O'Hara as Marilyn Hack, a perennially struggling actress who takes a role playing a dying Southern Jewish matriarch in the period indie melodrama, "Home for Purim."

Cast as the Pischer family patriarch is Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), best known for his commercial appearances as a giant wiener, but now looking to hit the big time with lines like, "It's a dang mitzvah!"

Rounding out the family in this first feature by sitcom veteran Jay Berman (Guest with an Albert Einstein 'do), is the contrary daughter, played by Callie Webb (Parker Posey), a former stand-up comic whose widely panned one-woman show, "No Penis Intended," was dubbed "an unfunny romp" by one unamused critic; while the part of her enlisted brother is filled by Brian Chubb (Christopher Moynihan), who happens to be her real-life boyfriend.

But it looks like it is Marilyn's ship that is finally about to come in when an Internet rumor touts her performance as bona fide Academy Awards material and, in no time flat, that contagious Oscar fever becomes the talk of the town.

"Home for Purim" is suddenly on everybody's lips, including those of Chuck Porter (Fred Willard in an orange faux-hawk) and Cindy Martin (Jane Lynch), the unctuous hosts of "Entertainment Now."

All that attention is causing Sunfish Classics president Martin Gibb (Guest newbie Ricky Gervais) to consider making a few not-so-subtle changes that would make the picture more commercial, much to the chagrin of screenwriters Lane Iverson (Michael McKean) and Philip Koontz (Bob Balaban).

By now, with most of the cast having worked together on Guest's three previous films, one only needs to see them pop onscreen to start laughing, and that's especially true of Willard as well as Jennifer Coolidge as Whitney Taylor Brown, the film's producer and family diaper service heiress whose over-the-top wardrobe looks like it was raided from MGM's old costume department.

Forgoing their usual behind-the-scenes, mockumentary format Guest and Levy (who plays Shearer's shallow agent) have opted for a straight-ahead narrative this time around, which manages to make room for an expanded cast of real characters.

They're all terrific, but at the end of the day this is O'Hara's show all the way. Watching her navigate her freshly plumped-up lips around her extreme makeover just before the arrival of nominations day, is alone worth the price of admission.


and for balance:-

Though she's endured the business for more than three decades, actress Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) still isn't recognized when she drives up to the front gates of the studio. She's there starring as a dying Southern matriarch in a low-budget drama called "Home for Purim" opposite Victor Allan Miller (Harry Shearer), who sees the role as a chance to escape his typecasting as Irv the Footlong Weiner in tube spots.

The crew of "Home for Purim" and the industry hangers-on are about par for the Tinseltown course: insecure, suspicious tonsorial train wrecks with laughably trendy wardrobes. There's the relentlessly cheery makeup guy (Ed Begley Jr.); Miller's distracted agent (Levy); a non-sequitur-spouting publicist (John Michael Higgins); the bland, middle-aged helmer (Guest); the EPK producer (Carrie Aizley); a breathtakingly dim producer (Jennifer Coolidge); and the mismatched screenwriting duo (Bob Balaban, Michael McKean).

One day on the set, Brit d.p. (Jim Piddock) lets slip to Marilyn that an Internet site has speculated her perf may be worthy of that little gold statue. She soon tells Miller, as well as co-stars (Parker Posey, Christopher Moynihan, Rachael Harris), the last a humorless Method type.

Soon the rumor has leaked to a series of contempo entertainment programs, caricatured with spot-on precision. Chief among them is "Entertainment Now," co-hosted by terminally perky and sharp-tongued duo (Jane Lynch and Fred Willard, here sporting a fluffy blond Mohawk).

The media buzz, in turn, attracts the attention of smarmy Sunfish Classics prez Martin Gibb (Ricky Gervais) and his jumpy assistant (Larry Miller), whose boutique distrib is interested in acquiring the film -- with maybe just a few script changes. Renamed "Home for Thanksgiving," pic gets raves from a pair of bickering tube crix (Don Lake, Michael Hitchcock). Can the coveted noms be far behind?

Of course, "Home for Purim" is terrible -- and nobody really seems to care, or even notice. As with the small-town theater company in "Guffman," even the hint of validation is enough to spur on these oddballs.

Entire company is in top form. Rep company newcomer Gervais has a priceless few moments discussing restaurants with Coolidge, while Shearer's character sums up the pic's main theme: "Oscar is the backbone of this industry, an industry not known for backbone."

Little-known thesps Deborah Theaker and Scott Williamson, who between them have been in almost all of Guest's directorial efforts, are given incrementally larger roles here as Marilyn's pal and a morning talkshow host, respectively.

If there's a whisper of disappointment, it's in the promise of O'Hara's touchingly conflicted Marilyn. The role feels underwritten -- particularly as O'Hara cedes face time to a huge supporting cast that includes various thesps doing one-off-cameos as themselves.


Purim?

There have been weirder items.

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