For Your Consideration

For Your Consideration

**

Reviewed by: Chris

The phrase “For Your Consideration” is the one that appears on promotional material for Oscar nominated movies around January each year. The film, however, made by writer/director Christopher Guest (Best In Show, A Mighty Wind), follows the fate of a very small budget movie, starring unknowns and has-beens, as it picks up speed in the wake of favourable rumours. Released at the appropriate time of year, it is positioned to be noticed in many areas - comedy, political satire, thinking filmgoers' melodrama. The question of whether it can deliver on this rich potential is the most absorbing aspect of its storyline and the experience of watching it.

The movie within the movie is initially called Home For Purim, at least until a studio exec (Ricky Gervais) gets hold of it and tones down the Jewishness by calling it Home For Thanksgiving ("I don't go around going, 'I'm a gentile, look at my foreskin,' do I?"). A son and daughter come home for the festivities in Forties Georgia, and also to see their dying mother, dropping the bombshell, in passing, that the daughter's boyfriend is a girlfriend. Writers are infuriated as their script is reworked, lovers fall out as one of them is rumoured to be Oscar-potential and the other not, and a worrying mix of inappropriately bad acting and caricatures keep the audience guessing where this is all going.

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There's a sense that For Your Consideration has followed in the footsteps of its own premise, that of an inconsequential movie which has managed to make it. We pick up on the excitement of the media, as the actors become news worthy and the publicity machine creates favourable word-of-mouth and creates an illusion of excitement. There are gags about the emptiness of Hollywood and the Academy Awards and the xenophobic attitude towards subtitles on foreign pictures, but, ultimately, the film suffers from the very lack of substance that it satirises.

We see nothing that any chat show host could possibly think was Oscar worthy. The jokes are largely predictable and we see no evidence of Home For Thanksgiving touring the arthouse circuit, as would be normal for such an indie production, hoping to hit the jackpot. It could have been saved if the characters had enough depth to engage our emotions, but there is nothing to provide the necessary pathos to make us care.

Tim Robbins would have had us gritting our teeth at the cynicism of Tinseltown and Trey Parker would have made the sketches so cringingly life-like that we would not only laugh, but go to see it as a protest.

For Your Consideration is a catalogue of failed opportunities, a great idea that needs to be made with more money, or more hard hitting talent, or both.

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2007
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Award ceremony satire from the masters of the mockumentary.
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