Friday, April 18, 2003

A Mighty Wind is my favorite comedy in a long time. I would put it a little below Best in Show or Waiting for Guffman because this time auteur Christopher Guest couldn't resist one moment of sweetness among all the brute force irony.

Guest's faux documentaries focus unmercifully on people who have absolutely no sense of self-awareness, which is what makes them so funny. It looks like in this one, the central Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara characters seem to have captivated Guest so much that he can't bring himself to give them the cynical smackdown that he sets the audience up for. But there is so much delight here that it hardly matters.

The cast, essentially the same group as in Best in Show, is hilarious. The standouts are Guest himself, doing a letter-perfect Art Garfunkel impression; Ed Begley Jr. as a smarmy PBS producer; Fred Willard doing the usual Fred Willard character, clearly making up his lines as he goes along; Piper Perabo, wonderfully perky and sexless; and Jane Lynch, who as usual manages to be both bland and intensely sexy at the same time.

And the music, crafted for maximum silliness, is much more effective here than the music in This is Spinal Tap was. And there are lines here that make me laugh every time I think of them: "There was abuse in my family. It was musical."

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