Mascots: A Netflix Original Film (Review)

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To begin, I love Christopher Guest. The man behind several cult mockumentaries including This is Spinal TapWaiting for GuffmanBest in ShowA Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration has a distinct flavor for quirkiness. He always manages to create wholly innovative stories with engaging characters. Guest and his usual band of misfits (with some new ones) have returned with a new original film, Mascots, which focuses on several different performers competing at the 8th Annual World Mascot Association Championships.

 

Like Guest’s other mockumentaries, Mascots follows several different personalities who are intertwined in the same situation. Many of Guest’s original ensemble returns, including Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Don Lake, John Michael Higgins, Harry Shearer, Ed Begley Jr., Michael Hitchcock, and even Christopher Guest reprising his role from Waiting For Guffman. The new additions include Zach Woods, Sarah Baker, and Chris O’Dowd. Though the cast is stacked, each character gets their shining moment, though I firmly believe Fred Willard steals the show.

 

Zach Woods and Sarah Baker play well off each other as a struggling married couple who hate each other’s guts. Chris O’Dowd plays an Irish degenerate loner. Bob Balaban and Jennifer Coolidge play a married couple with a side-splitting backstory. Don Lake, Jane Lynch, and Ed Begley Jr. are the three judges of the competition with little chemistry. Fred Willard is the mentor of Christopher Moynihan’s Plumber, who always seems to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Parker Posey carries a lot of the heavyset material as Alvin the Armadillo, taking the audience on a philosophical journey through interpretive dance. Guest’s infamous Corky St. Clair from Waiting for Guffman returns in a welcome cameo to aid the Armadillo through some of her more advanced moves. The way Guest is able to juggle all these characters in a 90-minute film without making it seem bloated is one of the many reasons he is a talented filmmaker.

 

The way Guest establishes his characters as isolated stories is one of his strong suits. The various stories in Mascots rarely intertwine, aside from a few character interactions here and there. This keeps the film fresh and fun. The first quarter of the film, which focuses on character introductions, is incredibly engaging and does a solid job establishing the different Mascots and their talents. The third act is pure bliss: the acts in the Mascots Competition are so earnest and original – there’s a dancing Rabbi and a worm – a plumber and a dancing poop – a hedgehog and a ladder – an armadillo – and a giant hand. If that’s not enough to convince you to watch this gem, I don’t know what will.

 

Mascots: 4 ½ out of 5

 

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    One Comment

  1. Karen ValenzuelaOctober 17th, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    SO EXCITED TO WATCH THIS!!!

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