Waiting For Guffman

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Small town Blaine, Missouri puts on a pageant, despite a lack of theatrical ability obvious to everyone but themselves.


The artist formerly known as Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel resurfaces here as director, star and co-writer in the nearest he (or anyone) has come to a Tap follow-up. In that respect, we've waited for Guffman for 14 years (and now he's greeted not on a multiplex red carpet, but in a straight to video plastic box).

It's a shame, for although this (a Marty DeBergi style documentary meets The Producers) doesn't quite hit the highs of Rob Reiner's heavy metal parody, it does deliver a superb send-up of small town amateur dramatics.

Guest is Corky St. Clair, a dubiously camp off off-Broadway director putting on a musical in Blaine, Missouri for the town's 150th anniversary. His small, untalented cast; Jewish dentist (co-writer Levy), husband and wife travel agents (Willard and the ridiculously quiffed O'Hara) and the Dairy Queen cutie (Parker Posey), are in awe of Corky who arranges for NY agent Guffman to come to the show, igniting dreams of a move to Broadway. Conducting the band is school music teacher (a brilliant Bob Balaban), appalled by what unfolds.

The songs (co-written by Guest and Tapster Harry Shearer) are suitably ridiculous and the deadpan gags come thick, fast and too numerous to mention, all delivered with knuckle-gnawing subtlety by the C-list cast with A-list style.

Watch 80 "sardonically irreverent" minutes zip by. Then stop, rewind and repeat. Ad absurdum.