Christopher Guest, creator of the “mock-umentary” genre, has introduced his fourth in a series of movies that will probably all go down in history as cult classics. Building on the reputations of the previous three, THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984), WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (1996), and BEST IN SHOW (2000), Guest’s latest submission, A MIGHTY WIND, doesn’t quite deliver as many laughs.
In A MIGHTY WIND, a folk music legend passes away and is survived by his three children who throw a nationally televised reunion tour in his honor. The audience follows three musical groups through their stories of success, failure and overall drama in the folk music category that was so popular in the 1960s.
MIGHTY WIND does offer a couple of belly laughs. Creators Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy have a great talent at poking fun at self-important people, especially people who take too seriously a hobby or otherwise silly distraction making it the center of their world in a way that they believe everyone should agree with their excitement and in turn share the obsession. A 70s metal band in SPINAL TAP, a small town Founder’s Day play in GUFFMAN, dog shows in BEST OF SHOW, and now folk singing. . . really bad folk singing. He’s basically recycled the same actors from BEST IN SHOW. Directors do this all the time.
Where A MIGHTY WIND fell flat was in the, OK-we-get-it!-We’ve-seen-Fred-Willard-act-like-a-goofball category. The humor wasn’t quite fresh enough. Moral audiences will want to know that the movie has several sexual comments, transvestite humor, and mocking of wholesomeness to one degree or another. Due to the subject matter of the movie, however, the obscenities are practically nonexistent.
The movie gets a PG-13 rating because the subtle and not-so-subtle lewd content is not in short supply. It is sort of snuck in through a few dirty jokes and little winks from the characters. For example, a female backup singer in one of the groups tells how she was a porno film star without using the word pornography. The movie’s clever creators scripted her to share great detail about her experiences without making a priest blush. It was quite obvious what she was talking about as her hopelessly clueless and wholesome husband watched, smiling vacantly at the camera. One character was a model train enthusiast who built a small town in his basement: complete with a brothel. Finally, a lyric to one of the folk songs has a strong sexual reference, but the audience has to listen for it.
Overall, there are no overtly redeeming qualities that would compel Judeo-Christian families to rally to the box office on this one.
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SUMMARY: A MIGHTY WIND is a “mock-umentary” that captures the reunion of 1960s folk trio the Folksmen (Guest, McKean, Shearer) as they prepare for a show at The Town Hall to memorialize a recently deceased concert promoter. With subtle sexual innuendos, the movie regrettably mocks morality in some spots.
(Pa, Ro, L, S, M) Generally pagan worldview with some mocking of morality, and some relativistic, romantic elements with character's choices; language includes one obscenity in a folk song and some off color jokes and sexual innuendoes, including transvestite humor; and, mocking of wholesomeness, parody of folk music era in the 1960s.