"The Worst of Cheap Shots"
What You Need To Know:
It would be hard to describe how offensive this movie is. What is interesting, however, is that the director, Christopher Guest of THIS IS SPINAL TAP, does not have the courage to go far enough to sustain the humor of the satire. Instead, the movie pulls its punches, perhaps aiming for a broad family audience that it can subvert with its mocking humor. The camera work is in your face, and the characters talk to the camera without a narrator or a reason to talk to the camera. This style wears thin and becomes oppressively annoying. Nobody escapes the mocking gaze of the camera, whether homosexual or redneck. The camera exposes all their superficiality and flaws. The style makes everyone look bad. There are no heroes, and no one to like – not even the dogs
(HoHoHo, AbAbAb, LL, V, SS, N, A, DD, MM) Homosexual worldview with many subtle & not-so-subtle attacks on heterosexuals, Christianity, faith, values, & an ugly, mean-spirited, misanthropic mocking of everyone & everything; 5 obscenities in the insinuated pronounciation of words like, “the dog’s a Shih Tzu” & several references the female dog, the private parts of a dog & dog droppings in a clearly scatalogical manner, 6 profanities & 2 overt blasphemies in a song; screaming & yelling, but no direct violence; homosexual characters & lesbian characters kissing, lots of homosexual jokes, lots of sexual innuendos, & some blatant references from being ‘poked’ to the Kama Sutra to “she’s good at putting her legs over her head,” & reference to “doggy style”; no nudity but blatant homosexual dressing, a weird homosexual picture, low necklines, & partial male nudity in photograph; alcohol use; smoking & drug references; and, blackmail, intimidation & references to adultery.
The commercials for BEST IN SHOW may be humorous enough to attract an audience, to what is a one joke movie that quickly runs out of humor. Dog shows are easy to satirize, especially when people look like their dogs or talk to their dogs, but such satire doesn’t last very long if it doesn’t keep pushing the envelope. BEST IN SHOW wants to be a satirical look at bourgeois America from an overtly homosexual point of view but fails to push the envelope far enough to sustain its mocking humor.
The movie opens with an intense yuppie couple talking to a psychiatrist about how their Beatrice had overseen them having sex. This was not ordinary sex. They were copying some of the erotic positions of the kama sutra, a pornographic Indian sexual philosophy. They feel that Beatrice is depressed. Beatrice turns out to be their Weimaraner.
Cut to another couple, Jerry and Cookie Fleck, who are talking to the camera about their dog. Cookie states that she had hundreds of boyfriends who fornicated with her before she married Gerry. Jealous Gerry actually has two left feet, a tedious joke which is milked for more than it is worth throughout the movie. They are taking their terrier to the Mayflower Dog Show in Philadelphia.
Cut to Dr. Theodore Villbank, who tells the camera that his grandfather started the Mayflower Dog Show.
Cut to Pine Nut, N.C., where Harlan Pepper is preparing his dog for the Mayflower Dog Show.
Cut to Tribeca N.Y., where overtly homosexual Scott Doland and Steven Vinderhoff are preparing their Shih Tzu for the dog show. They are ordering meat from the butcher. The sexual jokes are blatant, as is a homosexual picture which they flash at the camera.
Cut to Philadelphia, where buxom, young, Leslie Cabot is sitting with her old, shriveled husband. It is later revealed that Leslie has a lesbian lover who manages her kennel and such jokes come out as their dog Butch is a bitch.
A few other couples are featured with their dogs, and then the movie starts bringing them all to the dog show. This getting to the dog show section of the movie is totally humorless, but not for a lack of trying. The dog show jokes are premised on mocking each group and using toilet humor in a grotesquely overt fashion with such lines like their dog, Kipper, “likes to watch” or “doing it doggy style.”
It would be hard to describe how offensive this movie is. What is interesting, however, is that the director, Christopher Guest, who made the blatantly homosexual movie, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, does not have the courage to go far enough to sustain the humor of the satire. Instead, the movie pulls its punches, perhaps aiming for a broad family audience that it can subvert with its mocking humor.
The camera work is the currently popular “in your face” style, and the actors talk directly to the camera without a narrator or a seeming reason to talk to the camera, thus breaking down the proscenium arch almost in the manner of the symbolist plays of Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949). Again, this style wears thin and becomes oppressively annoying. Nobody escapes the mocking gaze of the camera, whether homosexual or redneck. The camera exposes all their superficiality and flaws. The style makes everyone look bad. There are no heroes, and no one to like – not even the dogs.
This movie goes from humor to bathos to pathetic. It brings to mind the biblical verse to mind, “Do not sit in the seat of mockers.” BEST IN SHOW may get some support from critics who are enamored with the homosexual world and with the mockumentary, or fake documentary, format. Do not be fooled, however, this is not a movie for children; rather it is an adult version of “SOUTH PARK light.”