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Best in Show

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Christopher Guest
Produced by Gordon Mark
Karen Murphy
Written by Christopher Guest
Eugene Levy
Starring Christopher Guest
Eugene Levy
Catherine O'Hara
John Michael Higgins
Michael McKean
Michael Hitchcock
Parker Posey
Jennifer Coolidge
Jane Lynch
Music by Jeffrey CJ Vanston
Cinematography Roberto Schaefer
Editing by Robert Leighton
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Castle Rock Entertainment
Release date(s) September 29, 2000
Running time 90 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million
Gross revenue $20.7 million
Preceded by Waiting for Guffman
Followed by A Mighty Wind

Best in Show is a 2000 mockumentary that follows five entrants in a prestigious dog show. The film focuses on the slightly surreal interactions among the various owners and handlers as they travel to the show and compete. Much of the dialogue was improvised.

Christopher Guest directed; he also co-wrote the script with Eugene Levy. Many in the cast and crew were also involved in the films This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration.

Contents

Plot

Best in Show is presented as a documentary of five dogs and their owners destined to show in the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, held in Philadelphia. The documentary jumps between the owners as they prepare to leave for the show, arriving at the hotel, and preparing backstage before their dog takes the show. The owners and their dogs include:

  • Gerry and Cookie Fleck (Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara), with their Norwich Terrier Winky. They are a middle-class couple from Florida who run into monetary problems and are forced to sleep in the hotel's storage room when they finally arrive. Throughout the film, they encounter men that Cookie had slept with during her youth.
  • Meg and Hamilton Swan (Parker Posey, Michael Hitchcock), with their Weimaraner Beatrice. An upper-class, stereotypical yuppie couple, they think they are taking great care of Beatrice (although really they are just confusing and aggravating her with their neurotic behavior), going as far as taking her to a therapist after she saw Meg and Hamilton have sex. At the show, the Swans believe that Beatrice will become unnerved without her favorite toy, the "Busy Bee", and frantically search for a replacement for it before the show.
  • Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest) and his Bloodhound Hubert. Pepper's family has raised a variety of hounds for generations, and Harlan continues the tradition by raising bloodhounds (though he has aspirations of becoming a ventriloquist).
  • Sherri Ann (Jennifer Coolidge) and Leslie Ward (Patrick Cranshaw) Cabot with their standard poodle Rhapsody in White (a.k.a. Butch), a two-time winner of the show in the past. Sherri Ann is a luscious big-breasted blonde, having the elderly Leslie as her sugar daddy (a parody of the marriage between Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall II). She is primarily worried about giving Rhapsody a makeover; however, trainer Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch) makes sure the dog is ready for the show, while Leslie stays utterly oblivious and apathetic. Over the course of the film, the fake couplehood between Sherri Ann and Leslie crumples while Sherri Ann's romantic involvement with Christy becomes apparent.
  • Scott Donlan (John Michael Higgins) and Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean) and their Shih Tzu. The gay couple takes great pride in their dog, and are confident that she will win the competition. They gossip about the other participants throughout the film.

The owners and their dogs all arrive in time for the show, which is hosted by Trevor Beckwith (Jim Piddock), and "color" commentator Buck Laughlin (Fred Willard). During the first round, Beatrice is disqualified when Hamilton cannot control her, but the other four dogs advance to the final round. Just before the finals, Cookie stumbles and insists that Gerry take over for her. Though the audience is initially awed by seeing Gerry's "two left feet" (the result of a birth defect), ultimately Winky takes Best in Show.

Afterwards, the film explores what each character is doing after the competition. Gerry and Cookie returned home to Florida and were overcome with attention after the victory. They go on to record, in amusingly bad style, songs about dogs. Sherri Ann and Christy have entered into a partnership and publish a magazine for lesbian purebred dog owners called American Bitch. Harlan fulfills his dreams and becomes a ventriloquist, entertaining sparse crowds with a honky tonk song and dance number. Hamilton and Meg Swan have found a new dog, one that enjoys watching them make love, and are sure it will be a winner. Stefan and Scott are in the process of designing a calendar featuring Shih Tzu dogs appearing in scenes, with appropriate costume, from famous classic films, such as Gone with the Wind and Casablanca.

Cast

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The dogs

  • "Can. Ch. Arokat's Echobar Take Me Dancing - Beatrice the Weimaraner
  • "Can. Ch. Urchin's Bryllo" - Winky the Norwich Terrier
  • "Am. Ch. Quiet Creek's Stand By Me" - Hubert the Bloodhound
  • "Can. Ch. Rapture's Classic" - Miss Agnes the Shih Tzu
  • "Can. Ch. Symarun's Red Hot Kisses" - Tyrone the Shih Tzu
  • "Can. Ch. Exxel Dezi Duz It With Pizaz" and "Brocade Exclamation" - Rhapsody in White the Standard Poodle

Reception

The film received extremely positive critical reception. As of February 2009, it had a rating of 94% fresh on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes (based on 103 reviews).[1] It won American, British, and Canadian Comedy Awards. The film is number 38 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".

See also

References

External links


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