Shot in legendary 'This Is Spinal Tap' creator Christopher's Guest's improvisational style, 'For Your Consideration' is a delightfully wicked satire of modern film production culture which is all the more enjoyable as the audience can watch safe in the knowledge that the intended objects of ridicule will almost certainly not be laughing along with them.
The action takes place on and around the set of fictional production 'Home for Purim', an arty piece that tells the absurd story of what happens when a Jewish family's grown-up daughter comes home to celebrate Purim, a religious festival, with a lesbian lover in tow.
The drama begins when some of its stars are mentioned in passing on the internet and small time radio shows as possible award contenders, initiating talk of an 'Oscar Buzz' which gets louder and louder as the film rumbles toward the announcement of Oscar nominees.
It's not long before the studio execs behind the film show up to see what's going on.
Ricky Gervais turns up and, playing a David Brent type character, tries to tone down 'Home for Purim's Jewishness. The film's writers then begin to comply in the 'commercialisation' process, and it's not long before the re-titled 'Home for Thanksgiving' veers into Oscar fodder territory.
As well as the writers, 'For Your Consideration' ruthlessly skewers dim-witted interviewers and daft interview questions, thick producers, grasping agents, desperate actors and inane 'brainstorming' sessions in which everybody agrees with each other even though nobody is saying the same thing.
These vignettes of vapidity are tremendous fun thanks to, and one hesitates to say it in the context of this film's subject, superb performances all around. These are all the more impressive given that the director's method calls upon the actors to effectively make up their own lines as they go.
Particularly enjoyable are Catherine O'Hara's portrayal of average character actor Marilyn Hack's mutation into a botox-ed, miniskirt- wearing grotesque, Harry Shearer's older ex-Shakespearean player Victor Allan Miller's efforts to fit in with MTV culture and Jennifer Coolidge's splendidly stupid amateur producer.
A word of warning: Guest films are divisive and not to everyone's taste. A liking for his earlier work or, perhaps, the Coen brothers' films, would indicate that 'For Your Consideration' might be the sort of thing you will enjoy.
In any case, Guest shows us that film awards, 'Oscar Buzz' and celebrity are not only valueless but that they are actually capable of causing tremendous damage and humiliation. Not only that, he does it in a tremendously funny film.