5/10 I’ve gone through the filmography (and television work) from writer/director Christopher Guest, the king of mockumentaries and conclude that journey with 2016’s “Mascots”. While using many of the familiar players that Guest has used throughout his career to great effect as well as some welcome new additions, the cast on display here is immensely talented and well suited for their individual roles. “Mascots”, like Guest’s other feature films is roughly an hour and a half so the pacing works very well and the movie never overstays its welcome. Guest’s films, despite some varying degree of quality, are always entertaining and fun to watch. Guest provides his usual zany yet memorable characters and his trademark creative word play, but the end result falls somewhere in the middle of his filmography. As much as I enjoy his body of work, at some point, things begin to feel repetitive, like we have seen all this before. Despite the mascot scene being new, the competition and panel of judges felt very much like “Best in Show”. We essentially know what we are going to get with the drama, the interviews, the “one year later” epilogue, etc. Even the bickering, crazy couple (Zach Woods and Sarah Baker) is also ripped from “Best in Show” (whose crazy couple was played by Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock). Guest even brings back his own “Waiting for Guffman” character for absolutely no apparent reason. There are a few laugh out loud moments (the furry jokes landed for me) but Guest’s formula has begun to feel stale, safe and predictable. Changing the sport or location or event but everything else remaining the same isn’t cutting it today like it may have 20 years ago. I hope that Guest is able to maintain the mockumentary style of film making with his fantastic, regular set of actors (Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara are greatly missed here) but change things up enough to really bring something fresh to the same old shtick he has been providing to us for decades now. Due to the lean running time, some genuinely entertaining mascot routines and his usual, memorable cast, “Mascots” is not a bad way to kill some time, especially if you are a fan of Guest’s previous work. However, don’t expect this movie to break the mold or provide you with something you haven’t already seen before. Here’s to hoping that Guest is able to shake things up moving forward. Whether he will or not is anyone’s…Guest.

#TheManInTheIronedMascot / #WhoWouldHaveGuest? / #GetAwayMascotFree / #TheFastAndTheFurryous / #Charmadillo / #HaveAHedgehogOnTheCompetition

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