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Bams' review of
Best In Show


Best In Show (2000)
Rated PG-13; running time 90 minutes
Genre: Comedy
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy
Directed by: Christopher Guest
Cast: Michael Hitchcock, Parker Posey, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Michael McKean, Jennifer Coolidge, Patrick Cranshaw, Jane Lynch, Larry Miller, Ed Begley Jr., Fred Willard, Jim Piddock, Bob Balaban, Don Lake, Jay Brazeau, Linda Kash, Cody Greg

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2000

(click here to skip to this movie's rating)

If you've ever watched the real-life Westminster Dog Show - and as an unabashed Dog Person, I have, many times - you'll recognize the dogs running rampant in Best In Show. But as is often the case, the Wacky Humans owned by those dogs, are the real show...

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Conformation dog shows, in which purebred dogs are judged against the physical standards of their breeds to vie for the ultimate "best of show" championship (as opposed to field trials which tests dogs for their obedience and similar abilities) - and more important, the lengths that the human "owners" of the dogs go through to get the coveted Blue Ribbon - are the target of satire in this "mockumentary" revolving around the fictitious Mayflower Dog Show.

The dogs and their hilarious humans, are:

  • Beatrice the neurotic Weimaraner, whose humans are high-strung Illinois yuppies Hamilton Swan (Michael Hitchcock) and his wife Meg (Parker Posey) - most likely the cause of Beatrice's many Issues;
  • Winky the scruffy Norwich Terrier, hailing from Fern City, Florida and bringing the man-magnet Cookie Fleck (Catherine O'Hara) and her two-left-footed salesman husband Gerry (Eugene Levy), along for the show;
  • Hubert the laid-back Bloodhound, accompanied by Pinenut North Carolina's own Good Ol' Boy Harlan Pepper (Christopher Guest), dog fancier and owner of The Fishin' Hole;
  • Tyrone the pampered Shih Tzu, cohabitating along with his sister, Miss Thang (uh, Miss Agnes) with Tribeca New York gay couple Scott "Ice Ice Baby" Donlan (John Michael Higgins) and Stefan Vanderhoof (Michael McKean);
  • And the prissy Poodle and two-time Mayflower winner, Butch, who lives at the Cabot Mansion with young, rich Anna Nicole-esque Sheri Ann Ward Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge) and her very old, very silent husband Leslie Ward Cabot (Patrick Cranshaw), and is being Shown at Mayflower by the rather butch in her own right Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch).

Dag, this flick was FUNNY!

Ok, so I'll say a bit more, but it all just comes back to my first statement. I can't remember when I've laughed more at a satire. Best In Show did an excellent job of deflating the craziness surrounding the bizarre world of conformation dog shows.

The writing and directing were tight, and the human's performances were spot-on wacky, though Michael McKean's Stefan was the most straight [uh, no pun intended] of the lot. Still, I hesitate to point out any of the actors here, they were all just that good; and the fact that they could play these caricatures with such straight faces, most def earns my praise. Hmmm...actually, I should point out that in addition to the great bits from all the actors mentioned in "The Story" above, Larry Miller as Max Bergman, one of Cookie's many ex-boyfriends, Ed Begley Jr. as the manager of the hotel Taft, and Fred Willard as Mayflower announcer Buck Laughlin, also had me in stitches. Miller's suicide-prevention guy was a straight-up riot; Begley's character had one of the best lines of the movie (something about rock stars and toilets; listen for it); and Willard had me rollin' with Buck's irreverent asides about the dog show, while the hapless dog expert Trevor Beckwith (Jim Piddock) tried but failed to keep Buck on-track.

What amazes me most of all is that all the dogs used for this movie, were real-life show champions - meaning that the real owners either had a healthy sense of humor about themselves, or had no idea of what they were getting into. Either way, it's a delicious irony.

Best In Show tickled my funny bone in the way that only a mockumentary about a subject I hold Near And Dear, could. Whether you're a dog or a cat person, you should see this flick. Unless you're a completely out-there dog or cat person, and can't laugh at yourself. Don't worry; the rest of us will laugh at you.

Reminiscent in tone to Raising Arizona, with more than a passing resemblance to McKean's mockumentary Spinal Tap, Best In Show certainly was this movie week's Blue Ribbon winner, and ranks right up there with the year's best flicks. I don't think I'll ever be able to watch Westminster the same way again.



Two paws up!

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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2000
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed through 10/13/00):

Bams' reviews:
The Contender | Best In Show

The Diva's reviews:
The Contender | The Ladies Man | Lost Souls
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