A Mighty Wind

"Excellent"

A Mighty Wind Review


Christopher Guest's latest feature A Mighty Wind is purely and gloriously Guestian. If you've seen his last two films, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, you know exactly what I mean by that.

For the rest of you, Guestian movies are mockumentaries that usually send up some peculiar topic (community theater, dog shows), star a troupe of the same handful of very talented comedy actors (with a heavy Second City bias), are for the most part improvised, are always directed by Christopher Guest, and are typically hilarious. Also, they all apparently have three-word titles. Yes, Guestian films follow a formula, but yet they end up being some of the most original, creative movies I ever get to see. And, A Mighty Wind, while not the best of Guest's trio of ensemble comedies, is no exception; it's definitely Guestian all the way.

Guest wrote the screenplay with longtime collaborator Eugene Levy, looking to make this third fake documentary musical (something with which Guest's familiar with both This is Spinal Tap and Guffman under his belt), which led to the curious theme: folk music, a musical genre that peaked in the '60s with groups that ranged from sweet and cooing to angry and protesting. Look out, Peter, Paul, and Mary--Guest and crew are on your case.

The plot hangs from the death of folk music impresario Irving Steinbloom. To honor his dad, Steinbloom's son Jonathan (Bob Balaban) organizes a televised reunion concert for some of Irving's once-popular acts: The Folksmen (a Tap reunion of Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer) who have a fondness for droppin' the "g" off of "-ing" titles; The New Main Street Singers (John Michael Higgins, Parker Posey, Jane Lynch), a nine-piece ("neuftet") populated by more damaged goods than a Goodwill and managed by a slimy has-been comedian (Fred Willard); and Mitch & Mickey (Levy, Catherine O'Hara) who were split as much by Mitch's nervous breakdown as by divorce. The groups reunite, and are eager to give Irving a nice send-off as well as prove that they're still relevant as performers.

The result is definitely funny, but Wind isn't quite the side-splitter its predecessors have been. It's kinder and gentler compared to the other two, and edgier is actually funnier in my book. But that's not to say there aren't laughs. Most of the big guffaws come in tasty bits from individual performances.

Willard, as the Singers' manager, is a total riot every moment he's on screen, dispensing unhelpful show biz advice, given from the point of view of a has-been best known for a weak catchphrase ("Wha' happened?"). Ed Begley, Jr. is brilliant as a Swedish-born, folk music-loving public broadcasting producer who's compelled to drop some Yiddish every time he's around a Jewish person. And Posey, while only featured in one monologue this time around, will have you in tears by the time her five minutes of screen time is up.

Bottom line, A Mighty Wind is for fans of Guestian films, even if it's not the funniest of these movies. But that's some wicked competition! Putting it in perspective, Wind will definitely be the funniest movie out in theaters this week, up against such fare as Anger Management and Bringing Down the House. It may be "formula," but Guest does some of the best formula comedy I've ever seen.

Encore!



A Mighty Wind

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th May 2003

Box Office USA: $17.5M

Distributed by: Castle Rock Entertainment

Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 151 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Jonathan Steinbloom, as Alan Barrows, as Terry Bohner, as Mitch Cohen, as Laurie Bohner, as Jerry Palter, as Mickey Crabbe, as Sissy Knox, as Mark Shubb, as Mike LaFontaine, as Wally Fenton, as Lars Olfen, as Steinbloom's Assistant, as Amber Cole

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.