DVD of the week


Warner Home Video, $19.98

GREAT COMEDY, so-so DVD—that's the disappointing truth to a no-frills single-disc package that Guffophiles will still rush to buy, then revisit regularly like a dog-eared paperback. The pity is that it could've been so much more. Only 84 priceless minutes long in its original 1997 release, the best comic film of that year was extracted from some 60 hours (!) of improvised material. From that, among precious few extra features, there are only 14 additional scenes included here. (Frets Corky while turkey hunting, "The thing I don't want to have happen is the bird to run after me and nip me like some schnauzer or something.") At least director/star Christopher Guest and his former Spinal Tap cohorts also include an excised musical number, "This Bulging River."

Guest and Eugene Levy (Dr. Pearl) also comment on the feature and outtakes, but with deadly amounts of dead air. Sure, comedy is a serious business for such pros, but a little light banter would've been appreciated, guys. "You have to like these people," says Guest, which sums up Guffman's uncondescending view of its untalented Blaine, Mo., pageant performers, and that same spirit of generosity remains the best thing about the movie's gently satiric humor.

OK, we're a bit miffed about this mediocre disc, just as when Corky tells off the town council—in optional Portuguese subtitles—"Porque s㯠uns safados!" Bastard people, indeed.

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