Hypothetical Netflix Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Christopher Guest is one of those filmmakers who has found the perfect comedic niche is the mockumentary genre. Since staring in This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Guest has directed four mockumentaries, the fifth one being Mascots (2016).
The movie follows a group of semi-professional sports mascots who enter a competition. The characters are set up similarly as Best in Show(2000). You got the bickering couple (Zach Wood and Sarah Baker), you got the guy with the funny ascent (Tom Bennett), you got…the other guy with the funny ascent (Chris O’Dowd). Alright, so the characters aren’t exactly the same as in Best in Show, mostly because Guest’s usual cast is rotated back into the wings, playing much smaller parts. Veteran Guest co-star Parker Posey is the only one who is a mascot…come to think of it, her story is a lot like Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara’s. Come to think of it, those two are the only ones missing from Mascots. Weird.
What I find so interesting about Guest’s directorial style is he shoots ten minute scenes, letting the actors improvise and grow the scene organically. He complies something like 60 hours of film for each movie, then edits them down to the realistic hour and a half.That’s, I think, really important for movies like Mascots that real depend on the characters being crazy, funny people doing crazy, funny things.
Having said that, everyone did a great job of being funny. One of the funnier bits in the movie comes from a person in a bunny suit, which is funny. Can I say “funny” any more? No?
I think, much like with Krampus, Mascots just wasn’t as good as some of the other movies that came before it. That’s not to say that certain jokes in the movie didn’t get me, because they did, it’s just that it doesn’t have the same charm it’s so clearly trying to recapture.