The Costume Competition – Mascots (2016)

Behind the mask.  So did you know that there is annual competition to see who the best at pumping crowds up is?  This is the new mockumentary from Christopher Guest that takes a look into the world of competitive mascot…ing.  Now believe it or not, I don’t have all that much of a background of the library of Christopher Guest.  I’ve seen my share of Spinal Tap like any self-respecting critic has, but that’s a Rob Reiner movie that he simply stars in.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of Best in Show because my mother loves dogs so much, but I haven’t seen big ones like A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, or Waiting for Guffman.  This is the man’s first movie in a decade, so it does make sense to go into a market like Netflix.  It ends up being a mixed bag, and I wish I had more to comment on in the form of comparing it to his other works.

2I also wish I just flat out attend more sporting events, if only to give the mascots more attention.

This movie manages to pull off the difficult feat of feeling slim and overcrowded at the same time.  It’s not overly complicated or intricate, because it ultimately is just a silly comedy, but if you look at the cast list, there’s a bunch of comedy names featured here, and every single one of them only gets a marginal amount of screen time.  In fact, I don’t think there is one person here that I would label as the main character over another, because not a single person is given the edge of having additional screen time/backstory over another.  It ends up making this come across as being overly niche, and while it is easy to get into a mockumentary about dogs and their crazy owners because it is just that accessible in Best in Show, it’s far more difficult to get into Mascots unless you’ve actually been a mascot or you are just so competitive you can get into any sort of tournament.

1Or if you just like watching people in costumes bickering.

I do feel like this movie has me at a disadvantage just because of my lack of background with Christopher Guest.  You can tell by the manner in which this was shot that a lot of this was just setting up the camera and letting the actors improvise as much as they wanted to.  Because of that, some scenes end up being stronger than others, as you would probably guess.  So much of this is purposely awkward, and it doesn’t succeed on the whole.  There’s a reason why this went straight to Netflix without any theatrical run, and I honestly feel like this is for hardcore Christopher Guest fans only.

Mascots (2016) **1/2

– Critic for Hire

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