Best in Show

From 2000, Christopher Guest turns his attention to less-pedigreed traits of human behavior attending a big dog show. Half the cast of Waiting for Guffman is on hand, including Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, and Fred Willard, plus Spinal Tap vet Michael McKean. They riff on Guest’s plot outline—basically a mockumentary backstage portrait of ridiculous dog owners. The result is 90 minutes of sly observational humor about how we use pets as the idealized representations of our imperfect lives, the furry, drooling, leg-humping vehicles of our hopes and dreams. Instead of broad hilarity and ridicule, there’s a subcurrent of low-key laughter running throughout the picture. For Guest, each well-coiffed canine on display is the product of a stage parent watching anxiously from the wings. He invites us to laugh at the owners’ foibles, while still rooting for their dogs—and better selves—to win. (R) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., July 30, 9:30 p.m.; July 31-Aug. 1, 7 & 9:30 p.m.; Mon., Aug. 2, 7 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 3, 7 & 9:30 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 4, 9:30 p.m., 2010

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