CFS has ‘Guest’ in ‘Show’

Jon Carcio

Right up there with sport-fishing and the National Spelling Bee, dog shows are considered by most a highly boring competition to witness. With all the combing, prancing and inspecting involved, the atmosphere does not generate much in entertainment-value and humor. Knowing this, it would seem nearly impossible to create a comedy revolving around dog owners who want their pooches to be the cream of the canine crop. However, in his 2000 “mockumentary,” “Best in Show,” director Christopher Guest proves that despite the dogs’ puffy exteriors, their caretakers turn out to be an even more peculiar breed.

Co-written by Guest and Eugene Levy (who is popular for his role as the matter-of-fact father in the “American Pie” series), “Best in Show” tracks five dogs and their idiosyncratic owners, from their arrival in Philadelphia to compete in the Mayflower Kennel Club Show until the prizes are awarded. The end of the film, which brings together all the major characters, is accompanied by the rowdily comedic contrast between an American color announcer who has no knowledge of dogs and his solemn British counterpart, a pedigree expert.

Guest, who is well known for delivering his own unique brand of comedy to National Lampoon and “Saturday Night Live,” is known for his “mockumentaries.” The 1986 cult favorite, “This is Spinal Tap,” directed by Rob Reiner, follows the fateful tour of a fake rock ‘n’ roll group, and Guest both co-wrote the script and stars as one of the addle-brained rockers. Those familiar with Guest’s work will note that many of the stars of “Best in Show,” including himself, Parker Posey, Catherine O’Hara, Bob Balaban and Michael Hitchcock, also appear in his 1996 satire “Waiting for Guffman.” This film highlights what can happen when a small town hires a Broadway director to manage its 150th anniversary pageant. Guest’s latest “mockumentary” is last year’s “A Mighty Wind,” in which Guest and company poke fun at aging folk singers from the 1960s.

“Best in Show” will be shown in the Connelly Center Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3 for students and $4 for all others. Professor Gordon Coonfield of the communication department at Villanova will introduce the Monday night screening and lead a discussion entitled “What’s So Doggone Funny?” following the film.

For more information, call the communication department at extension 9-4750 or consult