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a mighty wind

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This is the third go-around for Christopher Guest's very talented improvisational troupe and follows in the footsteps of the mockumentaries Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and is based, in part, on a oft-forgotten SNL sketch "The Folksmen." An important folk concert promoter has passed away, and his children assemble a tribute concert which reunites three of the groups he helped: The Folksmen, Mitch & Mickey, and The Main Street Singers. While The Main Street Singers have been touring since the 1960s (as The New Main Street Singers and featuring none of the original members of the band), this tribute concert serves are a reunion for the others.
I already love the work by Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean (the list goes on and on). It has been hard for this troupe to let me down, so consider this a bit of a biased review. That said, I loved this film, and while some would consider Guest's troupe return to the mockumentary trough tired, I think they really hit their stride here. Out of the three, this film is less overt in it's comedy. A Mighty Wind doesn't feel as mocking as the prior two films, instead going for more subtle, character-based humor. Guest seemed to treat the subject of the reunion and folk music itself with a bit more reverence than his previous targets. That feeling of respect, which isn't as overt in his prior films, is what makes this film great.
Like the improvised nature of the other films, the cast also wrote all of the songs used in the film. While some of the songs have humorous references in them, or may seem a bit corny at times, they are very enjoyable. Taken out of the context of this film, they could possibly be mistaken for 'real' songs if heard on the radio (even when analyzing the lyrics). This film did have it's problems, however. While it is nice to see these familiar faces, seeing underdeveloped characters in near-cameo appearances sometimes feels a bit hollow and unnecessary. In addition, it seemed to me that there wasn't enough "middle" to the story, and it pretty much seemed to just jump into the concert. These are minor flaws though, and I almost feel guilty mentioning them.
The film ends with a priceless post-concert epilogue, and fans of Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, or This is Spinal Tap should not miss out. Even comedy fans who weren't into those films might find A Mighty Wind enjoyable as Guest's "tweaking of the formula" really sets this film apart from it's fore-bearers. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 August 2005 23:51  


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