Blown away by a Mighty Wind

May 27, 2003, midnight | By Josh Gottlieb-Miller | 21 years ago

This is the Best in Show.

Light-hearted and intelligent, A Mighty Wind distinguishes itself from most every other movie in theaters today. Pleasantly paced and warmly produced, director Christopher Guest's latest amusement doesn't force any tired jokes and improvises nimbly around folk's inherent comedy.

A Mighty Wind showcases Guest's experienced comedy team in a reunion concert in honor of fictional folk icon Irving Steinbloom. Steinbloom's son reunites his father's three most popular acts: The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers and Mitch and Mickey, and the three skewer folk stereotypes with reckless abandon.

The Folksmen prove to be the funniest group, Harry McKean Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer all clearly enjoy each other's company and have easy chemistry. Loony and "innocent" The New Main Street Singers are a scathing knock-off of Up With People, singing inspirational songs at amusement parks just to get a paying gig. The only serious developments revolve around the formerly romantic duo Mitch and Mickey. Eugene Levy's poignant performance is adequately reserved and Catherine O'Hara's Mickey is easily likable.

A number of smaller players steal the screen; among them volatile Fred Willard, whose hysterical outbursts as The New Main Street Singers' ambitious manager dominate the audience. Willard's surprised musings that the Supreme Court has only 9 members is beyond funny and almost as memorable as Bob Balaban's Jonathon Steinbloom playing polo on ponies so that, as his mother put it, "The fall should not be so far."

By the big farewell concert the audience is wishing A Mighty Wind was a little longer, but ultimately it works best as a pleasant, quirky diversion.

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