Ironically, Guest claims to be foregoing his flip mockumentary style in favor of a more linear narrative. You wouldn't know it based on his troop's overly familiar meanderings and character co-dependence.
Consideration touches on a topic that's rife with comic possibilities: the nauseating egos inherent in the film business. The project in question is a low-budget indie by the name of Home for Purim, an intimate drama about a Jewish family's troublesome reunion at the celebration of their dying matriarch's favorite holiday.
The Purim players are fringe celebs, a motley crew of wannabes and used-to-bes desperate for a break. One little mention on an obscure movie blog is all it takes to start tongues wagging over a rumor that faded personality Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) may be crafting an Oscar-worthy performance.
From bloggers' lips to cinema gods' ears, that tiny flame of thespian glory is fanned into a wildfire of publicity; suddenly everyone who is anyone is talking about Purim.
The buzz stimulates budding expectation, sparking interest at the top. Naturally the brass smells big box office, with a few minor changes to broaden the film's appeal. Goodbye Purim, hello Thanksgiving!
Guest trots out the likely clichés with chaotic delight: the Ebert- and Roper-like film critics fiercely defending their cine-turfs; the Entertainment Tonight-ish hosts (Guest regulars Fred Willard and Jane Lynch) perpetuating hot water-cooler gossip; and the slick-as-oil studio head (Ricky Gervais as Sunfish Classics President Martin Gibb).
Despite a crack target comic and fluent performances by Guest's crew, Consideration has a been-there-done-that quality, a tired air of familiarity and distinct lack of sparkle.
Of course there are moments: the Purim theme sung around the holiday table; O'Hara's mystifying Hollywood transformation; and Willard gaily interviewing actors who have been snubbed by the Oscars. The marvelous O'Hara rises above the pack, her hopeful anticipation so palpable it hurts.
Guest is a gifted director with a devoted group of talent willing to take one for the team. He needs to move on.
Rating: PG-13 for language and adult themes. 1 hours, 26 minutes.