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Film / Best in Show

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"Some pets deserve a little more respect than others."

A 2000 mockumentary film directed by Christopher Guest and written by Eugene Levy with Guest co-writing. It has many of the same cast and crew as Guest's other films, including the earlier This Is Spın̈al Tap and Waiting for Guffman and the later A Mighty Wind.

The movie follows five dogs and their owners who enter the annual Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, and the unique relationship the people have with their dogs and with one another. Best in Show features a heavily improvised script that results in some wild tangents concerning everything from red pistachio nuts to a grisly description of a body being flung off a skyscraper.



  • Big Damn Kiss: Christy and Sheri Ann share one after Rhapsody In White wins best of her group.
  • Book-Ends: The film begins and ends with the Swans talking to a therapist about their problems with their dog.
  • Camp Gay: Scott. By contrast, his partner Stefan is more of a Straight Gay.
  • Chekhov's Gun The scene in the Taft Hotel's utility closet seems unmotivated until Cookie and Gerry are later housed there.
  • Cuckoolander Commentator: Buck Laughlin, the ex-football player announcer.
  • The Ditz: Buck Laughlin, in the context of dogs and dog shows, at least; his amiable enthusiasm for the events he's witnessing is matched only by his utterly cluelessness about the events he's witnessing. Although even taking into account his Fish out of Water position, he doesn't exactly seem like the brightest bulb in the box.
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  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Bitch" is the actual term for a female dog. When writing the script, Guest and Levy milked this for all it was worth.
  • Hidden Depths: It's made pretty clear that, to varying degrees, each of the couples has thrown themselves whole-heartedly into the dog show and training their dog as a way of compensating for or avoiding some other tension or problem in their lives.
  • Improv: Guest has his actor improv from general outlines; where the scene starts and where it needs to get to is fixed, but the rest is up to the actors.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Cookie is the female version. She can't go anywhere without bumping into someone she's had sex with, but she settled down and married a goofy, straight-laced guy, whom she seems to genuinely love.
  • Large Ham Announcer: They make the dog show even funnier, as they're an Odd Couple - one a genteel English dog-breeding expert and the other a desperately misplaced American Football commentator.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Sherri Ann, as revealed when she plants a kiss on Rhapsody In White's much more butch trainer.
  • Literal Metaphor: In their first interview Cookie and Gerry joke about his inability to dance and mention his "two left feet"—and the camera pans down to show that Gerry has two left feet. He used to walk in circles when he was a kid.
  • Mockumentary: It's Guest, after all.
  • Never Heard That One Before:
    Buck: I couldn't get used to being probed and prodded. I told my proctologist once: "Why don't you take me out to dinner and a movie sometime?"
    Trevor: (unamused) Yes. I remember you said that last year.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The hotel manager (Ed Begley Jr.), when discussing the difficulties cleaning up after a dog show, mentions an unnamed rock band (probably a Spinal Tap reference). Details are sparse, and include only the comment that "they probably didn't realize there was a toilet in the room", as well as something about "roasting a goat," and how how hard it was to get the smell of charcoal and cumin out of the curtains.
    • Frequent un-elaborated-upon references to Cookie Fleck's past sexual history as she coincidentally encounters numerous former partners.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Buck Laughlin bears more than a passing resemblance to Joe Garagiola, the baseball player-turned-announcer who provided commentary for the USA Network's coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Show for many years.
    • Sherri Ann Cabot is obviously based on Anna Nicole Smith.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: At the end of the movie Sherri Ann and Christy get together and found a magazine about "Lesbian Purebred Dog Owners".
  • Really Gets Around: Cookie Fleck, before she married Gerry. To his suppressed but obvious frustration, they keep meeting her former partners wherever they go.
  • Running Gag: Many of them.
  • Serious Business: The Mayflower show is as serious as it gets.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Guest's previous Mockumentary, Waiting for Guffman.
  • Trophy Wife: Sherri Ann Cabot is a spoof example in the Gold Digger vein, and, unusually, is cheating with another woman, not a man.


Example of: