Best in Show (2001): Christopher Guest Hilarious, Poignant Comedy of Dog Shows

One of Christopher Guest’s funniest and most popular films, Best in Show offers a sharply observed behind the scenes look into the extremely highly competitive and often nasty dog-shows through the “perverse” POV of a group of ruthless and eccentric dog owners.

This wild bunch includes a diverse and idiosyncratic group: yuppies Hamilton and Meg Swan and their neurotic weimeraner “Beatrice”; mild-mannered menswear salesman Gerry and Cookie Fleck, whose Norwich terrier’s registered name is “Champion Thank You Neil Sedaka”; fly-fishing shop owner Harlan Pepper and his beloved bloodhound “Hubert”; New Yorker Scott Donlon and his longtime hairdresser partner.

The tale is well-written by Guest and collaborator Eugene Levy, and the subject original, but it’s the large ensemble of talented comedians that Guest has built over the years that lend the lines hilarious, at once funny and surprisingly spontaneous (as if they were improvising them on the set…). End result is a multi-nuanced comedy that’s not only efficiently constructed but one that achieves coherence and unity beyond its episodic structure of parts.

Cast

Christopher Guest as Harlan
Parker Posey as Meg
Michael Hitchcock as Hamilton
Eugene Levy as Gerry
Catherine O’Hara as Cookie
John Michael Higgins as Scott

MPAA: PG-13
Running time: 91 Minutes