Christopher Guest follows up his instant classic Best in Show with a funny, but not overly so, look at the folk music industry in A Mighty Wind.
Most of the cast from Guest's previous films, the aforementioned Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, returns in A Mighty Wind, his latest documentary-style comedy that makes fun of how seriously some people take their own lives. This time around, he takes an "inside" look at folk musicians and why they love what they do, and never forgets to include the characters' interesting pasts (ranging from pornography to child abuse - musical child abuse, that is).
The director stars alongside the likes of Eugene Levy, Michael McKean and many others that you'll recognize from his other movies, as well as others. Levy, who is best known for his portrayal of Jim's Dad in the American Pie movies (a third one is due out this August), turns in a brilliantly hilarious performance, and, for the most part, carries the movie. Here, he is a drugged out ex-folk singer that can barely say ten words in a minute, and half the time he doesn't know what he's saying.
Though Levy steals the show, the entire cast is stupendous. Every single actor is incredibly believable, and it is amazing that they can say some of the things they say with such a straight face.
A Mighty Wind, unfortunately, is not as funny as Best in Show. Perhaps it is just the fact that I can relate more to dogs than to folk music, or maybe it is because I am used to Guest's style by now, but I just didn't laugh as hard as I was expecting to. There are some truly hilarious scenes and the movie overall is entertaining, but wasn't as tickled as I wanted to be.
While the characters are deep and realistic, it did seem as though they were all pretty similar, and not nearly as over-the-top as I have come to expect from Guest. Most of the characters seem to be aware that folk music isn't as popular as it once was, and that is a little disappointing; it is much more fun to see completely naive characters going about their day as if they are God. Furthermore, none of the characters are all that distinguishable from one another (except that some are men and some are female).
A Mighty Wind is an enjoyable film with a great ending and surprisingly fluid music, but didn't make me laugh as much as I was hoping to.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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