The king of the mockumentary world, director Christopher Guest (BEST IN SHOW and
WAITING FOR GUFFMAN), is back to delight us with another of his pseudo-serious
non-documentaries. In A MIGHTY WIND, he's out to skewer the old folk music
world so popular back in the sixties. If your audience is like ours, laughter
will go off like random fireworks since the script's mile-a-minute humor means
that what works for one person will likely be a dud for another. But I
guarantee that your personal mean time between laughs will be small.
Surprisingly, the only character than never works is a brain-fried singer,
played by Guest's co-writer Eugene Levy.
The setup for this folk music roast is a tribute concert to a dead music
promoter. His son, played by Bob Balaban, has just two weeks to reassemble
three big acts -- The Folksmen (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry
Shearer), The New Main Street Singers (John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, Parker
Posey, etc.) and Mitch & Mickey (Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara) -- so that
they can perform live at New York's famous Town Hall. You'll probably recognize
who the groups are patterned after and which real hall is used. The music is
fun with just the right mix of varying quality. You might actually want to buy
the movie's CD since it's so full of amateurish and infectious enthusiasm.
The groups' idiotic smiles alone are almost worth the price of admission. When
they aren't singing, the band members tell their life stories. One of The New
Main Street Singers confesses, "There was abuse in my family, but mostly of a
musical nature." His wife, also a member of the group, started off not in music
but in "short films." Being willing to do "this thing" that other women
wouldn't, she eventually worked her way up to full-length films, the last being
NOT SO TINY TIM. After meeting her husband, they formed a new color-based
religion, but I don't have time to get into that subtheme.
It's hard to figure out when I laughed the most, but perhaps it was the time one
brainless brunette with enormous breasts was asked if she liked model trains.
Why, of course, she did. "Thank god for model trains," she remarked sincerely.
"If they didn't have them, they would have never gotten the idea for big
A MIGHTY WIND runs 1:27. It is rated PG-13 for "sex-related humor" and would be
acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes