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  • I'm not sure why I waited to so long to see this film as I've known about it for quite some time now, but it was purely delightful. I spent the weekend catching up on my Christopher Guest films, and watched `A Mighty Wind' then `Best in Show' and saved Guffman for last. While I still thought `A Mighty Wind' was better, (in the same way that Sprite is better than 7-Up… there's really no difference, just maybe an iota of something indescribable that is better) `Waiting for Guffman' is still huddled in there with `Best in Show' as a fantastic film.

    One thing that I noticed about `Guffman' over the others is that while all of his films have a little heart to them, this film had just a little bit more. I can also see that Guest, while having more of an acting role in this film, went on to lessen his roles substantially, but he really is a good actor. All of the actors show immense versatility, (especially Catherine O'Hara, whose hair in this film made me laugh constantly) but Guest actually surprised me. The fact that the films are primarily ad-libbed is most impressive in `Guffman' in my opinion, and the direction, while very subtle in all of the films, does not rely on editing to lead (or sometimes, create) a gag as much as his later films do.

    All of Guest's films are fairly short (clocking in at 90 minutes or less) so I would suggest that if you haven't seen any or all of his mockumentaries, to just schedule a film festival with some friends and watch them in order. It's fun to compare them, and to watch the same actors take on different personas, and `Waiting for Guffman' is a strong and hilarious piece of work.

    --Shelly
  • Civic pride and the desire to perform bring an eclectic group of people together in the mock documentary, or `mockumentary,' `Waiting for Guffman,' directed by Christopher Guest. As he did with his more recent outing, `Best In Show,' Guest uses his satirical format to tell the story of the good people of Blaine, Mo., who are planning a celebration to commemorate the sesquicentennial of their fair town, the highlight of which will be a play depicting the history of Blaine. And how fortunate they are, as the celebrated director Corky St. Clair (Guest), who has had some close encounters with Broadway, has recently settled down in Blaine and has agreed to undertake the monumental task of directing the play, which he decides to present as a musical. He has the High School band/music teacher, Lloyd Miller (Bob Balaban) to provide the music; now all he has to do is assemble his cast. So he posts an announcement for auditions, and with that, the action begins.

    St. Clair has a grand vision of what his musical will be, and once rehearsals begin and he realizes just how good it is, he contacts some people he knows from his brush with the Great White Way, who agree to send a representative, Guffman, to see the show. St. Clair, of course, is walking on air, as he sees this as a chance at the big time; he's convinced they're going all the way to Broadway with this one. And on the night of the show, anticipation runs high as St. Clair and the members of the cast wait for Guffman to arrive. They've even reserved a folding chair in the front row for him, and as the curtain goes up, they hold their breath awaiting the first glimpse of The Man himself.

    Guest takes you through the whole process, from the auditions to the final show, and through interviews you get to know the townsfolk and their feelings about living in Blaine and their thoughts on the sesquicentennial and St. Clair's elaborate musical. And as you meet these people, I guarantee you're going to run into more than a few from your own experience; and anyone who's ever had anything to do with community theater on any level, is definitely going to be able to identify with the characters and situations presented here. Written by Guest and Eugene Levy, the screenplay is rife with insight into human nature on a level with anything ever written by Thackeray or Twain. The humor is dry and subtle; never forced, it evolves totally from the characters and the situations Guest and Levy have created. And, as David Byrne did with `True Stories,' they play up the humor of every day life in a small town without ever making fun or maligning it in any way; there are no `cheap shots' employed just for the sake of a laugh. It's all delivered good-naturedly and with taste. If they seem to be laughing at anyone, rest assured, it's themselves above all.

    Among those involved in bringing this piece of Americana to life are Fred Willard as Ron Albertson, and Catherine O'Hara as his wife, Sheila, who together run a local travel agency, but are entertainers at heart and jump at the chance to perform in St. Clair's musical; Parker Posey as Libby Mae Brown, who hopes to leave her job at the Dairy Queen behind when the show moves to Broadway; Eugene Levy as Dr. Allan Pearl, a dentist with a latent desire to perform who finally gets his chance with St. Clair; and Matt Keeslar as Johnny Savage, the mechanic who never realized where he real talents lay until St. Clair came along, and winds up on the stage, much to the chagrin of his dubious father, Red, played by Brian Doyle-Murray. The performances by one and all are first rate, and it gives that necessary sense of realism to the film that really makes it work; these are not actors you're watching, but real people in a very real town.

    The supporting cast includes Don Lake (Blaine Historian Phil Burgess), Paul Dooley (UFO Abductee), Linda Kash (Mrs. Pearl), Miriam Flynn (Costume Dresser), Jill Parker-Jones (Stage Manager), Larry Miller (Glen Welsch, Mayor), Deborah Theaker (Gwen Fabin-Blunt, Councilwoman), Michael Hitchcock (Steve Stark, Councilman) and Scott Williamson (Tucker Livingston, Councilman). Alfred Hitchcock may be the Master of Suspense, but with `Waiting for Guffman,' Christopher Guest proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is the Master of the `Mockumentary.' He has an eye for detail and an innate sense of what makes people tick, and he fills his film with all the nuance and quirks of life that can be found every day in any small town or metropolis across the country. With this film he holds up the mirror and says, `Go ahead, take a look,' and it gives you a chance to let your hair down and perhaps realize that everything isn't quite as serious as it seems sometimes; a chance to laugh at yourself and the guy next to you, with nothing but the best intentions, while affording you the opportunity of just having some good, old fashioned fun. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
  • The current climate of cinematic comedy is comparable, to an extent, to the trend in horror: everything is geared toward pull-out-all-stops excess that is more disgusting than entertaining. We should thank our lucky stars for Christopher Guest, a consistently surprising filmmaker (he directed "Best in Show" and wrote "This is Spinal Tap") who makes 'mockumentaries' that play like actual documentaries. "Waiting for Guffman" follows Corky St. Clair (Guest), a flamboyant stage director who gathers a group of 'eclectic' locals (a cross-eyed dentist; a husband-and-wife travel agent team; a Dairy Queen employee) for a production about the sleepy town in which they live (its claim to fame being home of the footstool). There is a hilarious authenticity to the behind-the-scenes footage, but the film never laughs at its subjects--as viewers, we share Corky's (admittedly delusional) passion with bittersweet good humor. The supporting cast--consisting of Guest regulars Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, and Larry Miller--is in top form here. "Waiting for Guffman" is a quiet comedy gem about a dull, quiet town. And it's also ridiculously rated "R" for two quick instances of F-word usage (way to call it, MPAA!).
  • This is the first of several films that Christopher Guest and his friends have made using a very unusual style. Instead of a clearly defined script, some very talented actors (such as Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard and others) took a script idea and improvised throughout. The film was then created using the best bits and I can honestly say that there is nothing like this film. While some of the jokes are very, very dry and occasionally fall flat, there is a subtle charm and wit to the film as you follow a group of 3rd rate local actors who have insane visions of Broadway.

    The film is ostensibly about a very local stage production about the founding of some small town. While these sort of pageants have been ubiquitous in small town America, this one is unique because supposedly a guy by the name of Guffman is coming to town and plans two see it. Guffman, it seems, is from Broadway and the cast has the temerity to believe that maybe they'll impress him so much that they'll become major stars. Considering the quality of the acting is well below that of an average high school production, this is very absurd. Yet, although ridiculous, there is a certain something in many of these people that is very likable so there is some depth to the film--you aren't just laughing at yokels who have ridiculous aspirations.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the film and think that people who like their humor subtle and perhaps a bit painful will enjoy this film. People who prefer broad comedy probably won't enjoy this very much.
  • Without exaggeration, I can tell you that I've seen this movie at least 30 times. And I always find something new about it. For instance, in Ron & Sheila's audition with their treatment of "Midnight At The Oasis", it took me about 10 viewings til I noticed that Sheila is mouthing the words to Ron because of his problems remembering his lines.

    I really don't know where to begin listing my favorite things about this movie - Ron's "medical reason" for his sole trip outside of Blaine, Dr. Pearl's Carson impressions, Sheila's "less-is-more" acting approach, Corky's tantrums ("I hate you, and I hate your ass face!"), Libba Mae's description of her job at Dairy Queen, councilman Steve Stark admiration for Corky ("GOD, I wish I was in the show"), there is not a wasted moment in this film. It's stupid of me to try to list them here.

    The extras on the DVD feature a ton of scenes that weren't in the movie. There's some additional Corky items in his memorabilia collection, including towels from "Hamlet On Ice", alternate epilogues for both Ron & Sheila and also Dr. Pearl, a scene of Corky driving around town telling people they made the cast, a nutty scene of Ron's whiffle-ball reenactment of Bill Mazeroski's famous home-run, dinner at Johnny Savage's house, and extra stuff from the musical - "Nothing Ever Happens In Blaine", "This Bulging River" and also a whacked-out White House scene. But the piece de resistance of the deleted scenes is Libby Mae's other audition piece which is so subtly twisted that you just need to see it yourself.

    It's debatable whether this movie is outright cruel in making fun of small townsfolk & community theater types. But the more I watch it and get into it, I think that everybody in the movie has a strong amount of affection for their characters. I don't know; you watch it 30 times and tell me what you think.
  • Sometimes dry, sometimes bubbling satire of middle America chronicles Corky Corkoran's (Guest) efforts to put on a spectacle commemorating the town of Blaine's 150th anniversary. Told in "mockumentary" style like most of Guest's films. Corky drafts an odd assortment of local talent to bring his historical revue to life, including the local dentist (Levy) and travel agent couple (O'Hara and Willard). Like "Spinal Tap", this film mercilessly spoofs the "artistic" pretentions of Corky and his cast, but the audience ends up feeling genuine affection for the characters, the provincial backwater of Blaine, and even Corky's awful show with laughable music and acting. Guest's performance, as well as several of the others, is very funny and memorable.

    A likeable comedy that some audiences may find too slow... much funnier than his later (and more popular) "Best of Show".
  • Some people might say this film's improvisational nature is dull and slow, it's the complete opposite. Just imagine a movie completely improvised? Not only does it take talent, it takes guts and charisma to stay with something so bold. While the ending was a little abrupt, this film was still one to enjoy. Christopher Guest seems to have playing a homosexual down to a hilt. If it wasn't for his role in Best in Show, I thought he would forever be typecast as an eccentric gay character. A fun film to watch if you're into alternate types of comedy.

    But this film also says a little something about the human condition. We aren't all people who wait for each other to speak and are perfectly capable of leading a group of people. This is Guest's gift: he can accentuate the insecurities we have within ourselves and portray it perfectly on celluloid.
  • encore-530-71212612 January 2018
    Waiting for Guffman is hilarious and it still holds up after several repeat viewings. The characters are all incredibly funny, the actors playing them are perfectly cast and incredible in their (hilarious) roles, and the script is simple but so very entertaining. It also has heart and you feel for the characters, but mostly it's just plain funny. I'd say it's not quite as funny as Spinal Tap but it's a better movie, if that makes sense. More heart and drama. I highly recommend this movie (and Spinal Tap too).
  • jotix10023 April 2005
    Christopher Guest has the knack for creating films where genuine laughter never stops. We saw this film when it was originally released, but caught it recently in the retrospect of Mr. Guest's films shown recently here.

    "Waiting for Guffman" is, to this humble viewer, probably his best creation to date. Not only is this a funny movie, it shows the genius of Mr. Guest at his best.

    Corky St. Clair, the director from the New York stage seems completely out of place in Blaine, Mo. He is too witty for that small little town, where he is clearly adored, not only by the local thespians, but by the whole municipal council. Some of the lines one hears coming from Corky's mouth are so amazing that one wonders if the citizens of Blaine fully realize they have a gem living in town.

    The players auditioning for Corky's new production about Blaine's beginnings, live in a world of themselves. Ron and Sheila Albertson, are the star of other productions, so they return again for the new show. Libby Mae Brown works in the Dairy Queen, but her ambition is to be a star. Even the local dentist, Dr. Allan Pearl, is attracted to become a performer.

    There are two other underlying plots going on in the film. There is the history part, or how Blaine came to be, and the other notorious incident of the flying saucer that came into town and took several of the citizens for a tour of the space craft and we are being told about it by the people that experienced that adventure.

    Christopher Guest makes a wonderful Corky St. Clair. Mr. Guest knows what makes Corky great. Corky, no doubt, is a composite of people Mr. Guest must have known at one time or another. Corky is an enormous achievement for Mr. Guest as a writer and as a performer.

    Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara are incredible in their take of the Albertsons, the travel agents without a clue of what's going on outside Blaine. Ron's delicate operation is explained in some detail to the horrified Mrs. Pearl. Eugene Levy, Mr. Guest's frequent collaborator is right on the money as the dentist with singing aspirations. Parker Posey, is the girl who thinks Broadway is only a few steps away. Paul Dooley, Don Lake, Larry Miller,Linda Kash, are among the citizens of Blaine one gets to know in the film.

    Of course, none of this would have been possible without Christopher Guest. It's a shame we don't get to see more of him, but that makes even better whatever he decides to offer us from time to time.
  • "Waiting for Guffman" may just be that rare thing: the perfect comedy.

    It's brilliantly (and I don't use that word lightly) written and acted. I think it would be easy to dismiss the talent that went into this film, because it looks so effortless on screen, but you would have to be a wonderful actor to make material this subtle and dead pan work as well as it does here.

    "Guffman" is better than any of the follow up films Christopher Guest and his recurrent ensemble have made since because it doesn't stretch itself too thin. Guest focuses on a handful of main characters, and all of his other players get much smaller but no less hysterical roles to play. This is in sharp contrast to his most recent movie, "For Your Consideration," in which he tries to give everyone equal screen time with the results being that everyone gets short changed.

    I grew up in a tiny town of 500 people in rural Illinois, and I remember our town celebrating its bicentennial. We even had a little pageant full of skits (I had a part in it myself). And I have to say that it was EXACTLY like this movie. The actors don't even have to exaggerate much to capture that feeling of small-town folks who take themselves and their little village ultra-seriously.

    Councilman/Pharmacist: "Corky, our budget for the entire year is $50,000, and that includes swimming." Corky: "Well, I don't have any swimming in my show."

    I'm sorry, but if you can't understand why an exchange like that is funny, I can't help you.

    Grade: A+
  • I was shocked there were 18 pages of good reviews. This has to be one of the worst movies especially considering it was recommended. Must admit that comedies are not my favorite genre, but this movie made it worst in that it tried so hard to be clever that it made me squirm to watch it.

    The concept of the movie is comparable to audition week on American Idol. You watch because people are so blind to their shortcomings. But we knew this movie didn't have bad actors. So how funny would it be to have good singers try to convince they shouldn't get anywhere near an American Idol tryout? It would be pointless as this movie was.

    The use of improv is over-rated. We've all been in that setting where a group of friends get on a roll and everyone is cracking up with tears in the their eyes. I feel that is improv. Improv can't be turned on just because the camera is rolling as this film proves. If you like that Drew Carey hosted show of improv, you'll probably like this film.

    Overall the jokes were poor, the improv was sophomoric, and the over-acting by Guest and company was campy...and those are my compliments of this drivel. If a guy playing a trumpet AND the kettle drum at the same time is funny to you, fine. For me, I prefer more heady stuff like "I Love Lucy" or "Hee-Haw".

    But remember, I think SNL lost its humor in the 1980's, so maybe you'll like this G-rated humor. I kept waiting for a person to identify himself as the zoo keeper and then tell us there was no zoo in town. That's the humor you can expect.

    My only wish was that I could give this a minus rating.
  • This Christopher Guest film has the potential to be incredibly funny considering it's about a small midwestern town's historic festival drama production. The characters are iconoclastic emblems of small town life, who find leadership in a neurotic off-off-off... Broadway director turned high school drama teacher, Corky.

    But soon the movie plays out like a bad pbs documentary. The intended humor is just that, intended, but so contrived it's stale, like a day old loaf of French bread. The town of Blaine places its salvation in Corky's hands as he plans on making his return to off-off-off... Broadway with. How? Guffman (to say more would give away the plot).

    About the only saving grace of this movie is the humourous tension between the high school music director, Lloyd Miller, a control-freak of short stature, and Corky, the closet-gay "drama queen."

    If you want to see a funny Christopher Guest film, rent Best in Show, or go see Might Wind. Definitely pass on this train wreck of a mockumentary.
  • moviebiz28 August 1999
    This was like watching a bad "SNL" skit. There were no laughs and Christopher Guest is not funny. I am amazed that a producer told me to rent this. I should have known when he said he liked Throw Momma From the Train. Terrible acting and a dumb plot. It's shot in sort of an interview style and is so boring. Mr. Guest plays a gay drama coach like he portrayed in the "SNL" skit "Synchronized Swimming" (Martin Short). Just not funny.
  • Rathko8 February 2006
    'Waiting for Guffman', while lacking the expansive detail of the seminal 'This is Spinal Tap', is still a worthy addition to Guest's filmography. The story, as ever, is really quite irrelevant, as the pleasure to be had from these films is in meeting the characters that the actors forge from intensive improvisation. What never ceases to amaze is that these 'improvised' characters have more depth, subtlety and believability than the large majority of traditionally crafted and scripted characters. Equally as impressive is the refusal to turn any character into an object of derision. For all their seeming vacuous vanity and ego driven foibles, these are essentially good people. The entire movie is infused with a benign joy and heartfelt warmth that is irresistible.

    As others have said, the highlight of the movie is a scene that can only be seen in the DVD extras – Libby Mae Brown's audition monologue – an incredibly well written and executed performance that reveals more about her character and Posie's talent than many award winning turns.

    As ever, the musical numbers by 'Taps' Guest, McKean and Shearer are brilliant – catchy and witty and performed just on the right side of endearing amateurishness.

    An excellent movie, that compensates for the lack of laugh-out-loud moments with well crafted, beautifully realized characters, and inspired songs.
  • tastyhotdogs23 September 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Waiting for Guffman" is another mockumentary done by Christopher Guest and co. It is set in the town of Blain and focuses on a musical being produced to honour the city's 150yr celebration.

    Corky (Guest) is the former off-off-off Broadway director who gathers a cast of local wannabe actors to put together a musical telling the proud town's history. Among the local "talent" are Ron & Sheila ALbertson (the awesome Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara) and dentist Dr Alan Pearl (Eugene Levy, funny as always). Excitement builds when the cast discovers Broadway producer Guffman is coming to town to see the musical, with many hoping this could be their big break.

    The last 20mins of the film is the musical itself, which is pretty funny, as well as charming. The crowd acts as if they're watching Shakespeare, and the cast gives it's all in what is a pretty amateur show.

    Some decent gags, many of which are subtle. Not in the "Best In Show" class, but not too bad. Guest and Willard keep the thing moving, but if Levy and Willard had greater roles in what is a short film, it could have been much better.
  • shark-4325 October 2001
    This movie just entertains the hell out of me. Chris Guest does brilliant work as an actor, the director and one of the writers - even though most of the film is improvised. Terrific character work by the legendary SCTV diva, Catherine O'Hara with Fred Williard delivering his usual steady, solid support. Parker Posey blossoms in this movie - with real pathos and hope (her character has a real sadness). But the movie also lampoons midwestern small towns, talent shows, local theatre, close-mindedness, local politics and show business. Yes, it's silly, but at times it is also brilliant satire. Wonderful American comedy.
  • "Waiting for Guffman" (1996): THE FINEST assemblage of straight-faced comedians in all of history, create one of THE funniest movies EVER. "Waiting for Guffman" is about humans with more than enough faith...AND self-delusions. Christopher Guest is the driving force, both in front of and behind the camera, and along with Eugene Levy, portray a small town's population creating a small play about their small history, which is a VERY BIG deal to them. Guest's consistent theme (throughout his films) is about humans who don't have enough insight or talent to spot the lack of it within themselves. There is an incredible blind faith, tenderness and embarrassing, misguided drive within these people. And yet, within their little world, they support the dreams for one another, and move through their lives with solid delusion. "This is Spinal Tap", "Best in Show", and "A Mighty Wind" are other great examples. Guest also has the sense to call back his actors for further projects. This is brilliant work.
  • Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) has been living in Blaine, Missouri after a less than successful career in theater in New York City. In Blaine, he's received much more recognition and opportunity than ever before, even if one of the primary reasons was for burning down a local theater during an over-ambitious stage production of Backdraft (1991). Waiting for Guffman is set during Blaine's sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary), and is the story of St. Clair conceiving, casting, producing and finally co-starring in a play that tells the story of Blaine.

    This is mockumentary (which means it's presented as if it were a documentary, but it's really just a satire of one) co-written, co-scored and directed by Guest, in the vein of his later work (the most recent as of this writing), A Mighty Wind (2003). While both films are likable enough, they both end up suffering from many of the same problems.

    Guest first rose to prominence as a writer and star of This Is Spinal Tap (1984), a hilarious mockumentary film directed by Rob Reiner. Most of Guest's work since Spinal Tap has been in the same vein. Unfortunately, none of it has been quite as funny.

    I'm not sure that Guest is trying to be as funny, though. Both Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind often are far more serious than one might expect. It seems that Guest has a deep affection for small town life (and folk music in A Mighty Wind). He has one foot firmly in Garrison Keillor (of Prairie Home Companion/Lake Wobegon Days fame) territory. But material in that vein doesn't work nearly as well here as it does for Keillor.

    Keillor is crafting finely honed, mildly satirical, slightly quirky but ultimately heartwarming stories loaded with a deep sense of nostalgia for small town, family-oriented life. Guest is giving his actors a rough guide of the "plot" and letting them improvise for the camera. You can't improvise a Keillor-quality tale (not even Keillor could do it). So the final result is that occasionally the cast improvises something funny, but more often they are just working out their characters as they invent somewhat mundane facts and feelings about themselves. The funniest bits feature Guest's scripted material (facts about the history of the town, for example) or feature Guest himself on camera. It seems that there really was just something magical about Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer (who co-wrote the music here) improvising together and being directed by Reiner in This is Spinal Tap.

    It's not that the rest of the cast isn't good. I'm a fan of Eugene Levy (Guest's co-writer on the film), Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard and other cast members. But they come across as far campier than Guest, and they're often in search of a punch line (as is Guest himself far too often during his improvised segments). I love camp, but I'm not sure it works when there isn't a fuller commitment to it, and it especially doesn't work when there's the attempt to venture into Keillor territory at the same time. The only other actor who really matches Guest in tone is Bob Balaban as the music teacher, but apparently Guest directed him to mostly look bewildered and slightly annoyed. He doesn't have many verbal punch lines, either.

    As it was in This is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, the music in Waiting for Guffman is good. Guest, McKean and Shearer are obviously very talented musicians and songwriters in real life. But like in A Mighty Wind, the lyrics here are far less overtly spoof-oriented--there's nothing lyrically equivalent to Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom". The result is that Waiting for Guffman could almost serve as a sample score for the trio to shop in order to acquire gigs scoring serious Broadway shows.

    Another factor that might turn some viewers off is that Guest seems to have struck upon a formula for his mockumentaries. We start with historical material about the performers and their cultural context, we see them developing their "product", first tentatively, but later with more conviction and we see them attain an amount of public recognition and personal success. But somewhere along the way, personal problems begin creeping in and interfering with the success of the projects depicted in the film. People leave. People become disillusioned with at least some members of an organization. The success ends up being a bit hollow, and the cast disperses in the end, while we get a wrap-up showing "where are they now", with many being back in the position they were in at the beginning of the film or worse. While the formula is enjoyable enough, and it certainly worked well for This is Spinal Tap, after the nth instantiation it becomes more difficult to have the same comic effect with it.

    Still, this probably sounds much more negative than it should. I did enjoy watching Waiting for Guffman overall. There were quite a few funny elements, and Guest does achieve a bit of the small town charm he's aiming for, including the faux theatrical performance. I just kept wishing that it could be even funnier, more outrageous, more unpredictable.
  • While respecting and enjoying the work of everyone involved, I still felt underwhelmed by this experiment in satire. Christopher Guest and his cohorts created a dead-on spoof of small-town Middle-American earnestness and delusion, but the format was perhaps too loose and too unscripted to hold together as a film, for my tastes at least. It would have made for a great 30 minute short, but at 84 minutes it felt interminable: like one of those Saturday Night Live skits that starts out funny and on the mark, but doesn't know when to quit.
  • This film was an anomaly compared to the bookends of Spinal Tap and Best In Show. Parody and caricature are at the essence of the comedy of these three films, but Guffman comes off far more contrived, less clever, and more mean-spirited. The result is a comedy that rests on a foundation that you find small-town folk backwards and funny in their own right, and the movie comes down like a house of cards if you don't buy into this premise. There's little else to keep it afloat.

    Which isn't to say that small-town folk can't be the source of some really good, mean-spirited humor. But unfortunately, there is very little humor that works beyond this one-dimensional gimmick, which is executed poorly.

    The characters drone and whine on about their petty small-town issues, quirks, senses of importance, and problems. You care for none of them, turning the cast into a circus of annoying dinner guests whose idiosyncrasies are too pathetic to find legitimate humor in.

    Maybe if you grew up in a small town and wanted to exact your revenge on your small-minded, petty neighbors, this will come off as hilarious. But for me, it came off as boring, uninspired, and about as dynamically funny as a bad British comedy of manners. Not worth the investment of time to even watch: 2 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I love these Guest/Levy put-ons, and Willard is always great. So is O'hara in this. But come on, this is not in the same league as their others. It isn't even nearly as good as Drop Dead Gorgeous. I know that is by a different troupe, but it is a great comparable. The part leading up to the show is good. The show is interminable. It kills the movie. After the show ends, things get better again, but that huge dead-spot in the middle makes it impossible to give this more than a five. Once again, the people who give these mediocre movies a "10" seem to be missing an oar. Take this comment: "the character of Corky ... at first glance he can seem like an annoying gay stereotype. But good ol' Christopher Guest has a trick up his sleeve...listen VERY carefully and you'll hear him mention his wife (just once in the whole movie). I don't actually think for a minute Corky is homosexual, he just acts exceedingly camp. ... We should realise that Christopher Guest is one step ahead of us!" Hello!?!? Guest is two steps ahead of this guy I'd say. Corky CLAIMS to have a wife. Somebody else in the flick, maybe it is Mrs. Pearl, says nobody has ever seen her. Hello!? That is the joke. Get it now?
  • Manthorpe15 November 2004
    Being a fan of most of Guest's films, I found myself quite surprised and a little guilty for not enjoying this film. I didn't necessarily have high expectations for it, but I did expect it to make me laugh. For me, the only thing I found myself waiting for was the laughs. Thirty minutes into it I thought I might turn it off, but I trekked on to see if it picked up. It didn't. I have no problem with mocumentaries, and actually enjoy quite many of them, but this one just fell flat on it's face. All it is, is annoying people being annoying. I suppose it's intended to be humorous but I found it simply annoying, sometimes painfully. Maybe some of this can be attributed to the fact that I was expecting more of a film and less of a mocumentary. It's format, even for mocks, became quite tedious. There were too many interviews. The film's major flaw is that it takes what might be slightly funny in the beginning and just repeats it into infinity. If you've seen the first 20 minutes, you've seen the entire film. It's not that it's not funny, it's just not funny enough.

    I will admit though, even if I didn't enjoy it, it's amazing to think that a movie can be made with literally no script and all improvisation. I do not doubt the talent of the actors involved, the film just might have benefited from some form of an outline and possibly better editing. Those who have said that if you like Spinal Tap, you like this film....not true. I love Spinal Tap but just couldn't get into this one. I'll never watch it again.
  • This movie is absolutely amazing! I had never heard of it before I saw it, but thankfully I watched it anyway. It is so cleverly done and acted so well. Everyone has the funniest idiosyncrasies that you will never stop talking about. I was even rolling on the ground in tears during the deleted scenes. I hope that everyone (especially theater people) will give this great movie a chance no matter what anyone else says. It is beautifully done and will be a classic with me and my friends forever. Also be sure to check out all of Christopher Guest's mockumentary films like, "Best in Show", "A Mighty Wind", and "This is Spinal Tap", they all hit close to home with what they are mocking and do it in the funniest way possible.
  • When I first visited Disneyland, I was disappointed, at least for the first hour or two. I was used to amusement parks with really wild rides that shook you around and scared you. Only when I realized that Disney was going for FUN instead of THRILLS did I relax and enjoy myself. My expectations of what an amusement park should be had been in the way.

    Likewise, your expectations of what a movie comedy should be can get in your way when viewing Waiting for Guffman. If you have been raised on Hollywood's standard punchline-a-minute or gross-out comedies and are expecting the same here, you will be disappointed. The humor is subtle and character-driven.

    That having been said, Guffman is funnier than a dozen in-your-face movie comedies put together. Director Christopher Guest assembled a group of talented actors and assigned to each of them a small-town character. He then gave each character the opportunity to be an UN-talented actor in a community production. The majority of the dialog is unscripted, and the show the "actors" are called on to do is horrendously bad, but laughs flow from the sincerity of the characters and their (very unearned) high opinion of their talent and their show.

    Full of gentle digs at small-town life and amateur theater, Waiting for Guffman is not your typical comedy, but it is very funny and well worth your time -- as long as you don't expect it to be something it's not.

    Oh, and as noted elsewhere in these user comments, don't miss the closing credits. I'm still hoping to locate some "My Dinner With Andre" action figures and a "Remains of the Day" lunchbox.
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