In tribute to recently deceased folk music promoter Irving Steinbloom, his children stage a concert, bringing together a parade of musical eccentrics.
Having done mock-docs on community theatre (Waiting For Guffman) and dog breeding (Best In Show), Christopher Guest here harks back to his work with regulars Michael McKean and Harry Shearer on This Is Spinal Tap, as he takes a gently satirical look at the absurdities of the folk music business.
Guest's films basically involve roping in all of his friends to do schtick, but they're all amazing talents and deliver spot-on performances: Bob Balaban as the nervously clueless heir determinedly putting together the concert, Fred Willard as a busted sit-com star-cum-manager still chuckling over old catchphrases ("Hey, wha' happen?"), Paul Dooley as the surviving original Main Streeter whose microphone isn't even plugged in.
As in Tap, the songs are just exaggerated and double entendre-laden enough to be funny but remain convincingly ghastly. And the weird relationship between still-fractured Eugene Levy and settled-down Catherine O'Hara provides a genuine plot spine for all the routines.
Improv comedy at its best: subtle, hilarious, excruciating and affecting in equal measure. And you'll be quoting it for years.
Reviewed by Kim Newman
|A Mighty Wind|