Most of the time tired . . . .
"Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it." Jonathan Swift
Whenever I review a film, I put out my sensors for the "buzz," that mysterious rumor cloud praising or damning a film most people haven't seen, much less those doing the praising or damning. Christopher Guest's For Your Consideration satirizes this subtle form of marketing or sabotage, sometimes spot-on funny, but most of the time tired.
After all, Hollywood has had such a considerable share of self-referential jokes about its "system" that so many of us fail to see uniqueness in the same old, same old. However, I was certainly amused in For Your Consideration by the take on the film critic duo, whose obligatory disagreements turn them into mush when they have to agree (Clay Lowe and I have had such moments on our radio show, "It's Movie Time" ).
The spoofs here of Larry Sanders, Entertainment Tonight (Fred Ward is appropriately obnoxious as an acerbic, dull-witted co-host), and most local entertainment TV shows are funny, much more so than the weak set up, which went too long showing scenes from the indie Home for Purim, later called Home for Thanksgiving. It's a lame family drama that gets the Oscar buzz although it would never have qualified on its own merits, or for that matter been made.
Guest himself has made far more incisive and humorous films about egos and obsessive compulsions, such as Mighty Wind and Best of Show. Hollywood is always ripe for spoofing-- it's just that creative minds such as Guest's need to take a different angle or perhaps a stronger light, in the spirit of the cinematographer for Home for Thanksgiving, who says when asked to heighten the key: "It's brighter than Stephen Hawking in here." That's the kind of bright I mean.