TV-MA probably just for language and innuendo. Let's establish, streaming video original content makes movie ratings look like TV ratings.
I want to preface that I kind of liked the movie. I already know me and from my pre-planning, I can tell that this review is going to go negative. As a complete worked, I liked it. From a contextual perspective, this movie has a lot to be desired.
Mascots is in a small category of film. Writer and director Christopher Guest has his own little fandom of which I am part. This is Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman might be some of the greatest comedies ever. Guffman alone I have probably seen perhaps a dozen times over my lifetime. It is part of the ritual of having anything to do with a theatre degree or having been part of any community theatre production. (I can already hear the collective Internet's eyes rolling as they have now placed me in an even nerdier demographic. You know, assuming that anyone ever read this blog.) There is something absolutely brilliant about the the improvised format that makes these kinds of movies so compelling. Mascots, like Guest's other films, features many of his company (I'm sorry!) from his other works along with some welcome additions. The problems is...
...the concept is getting depressing. I've seen this movie before from Guest. It very much feels like a reskinning of Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. He has told the story of the subculture's big competition / awards night so many times that I just can't fall in love with the characters again. Many of the jokes are even retellings of the old jokes from other films. I actually IMDB'ed Parker Posey's character to find out if her Alvin the Aardvark was meant to be Libby Mae Brown. I will always love Fred Willard, but he's just playing the same detached from reality adorable racist blowhard that he has over and over. This time they are wearing brightly colored cartoon characters for clothing, but that just replaced a guitar or a poodle. I kind of feel like Christopher Guest is either creatively dying or just appeasing his horde of fans. I love him, but I want something subversive and angry. I really liked the jokes, but that's because it felt like a greatest hits album rather than original content. It is perhaps why I gravitated to the new actors in the group. I loved Chris O'Dowd, but that's just because I didn't have the heart to watch Guest's Family Tree TV show on HBO. It was at least something new.
But if we can establish that this movie is fan service, it in many ways is the best fan service possible. I have a hard time reading his personality through his works. I remember when For Your Consideration came out, people were claiming it was a commentary on his disillusionment from the Hollywood system. Reports were screaming that Guest was done with his mockumentaries. The movie, in this light, seemed bitter and angry. Mascots, however, never really attacks anything. If this is his Greatest Hits album, he knew that he had to include Corky St. Clair. This is the moment that makes me excited and confused. My mind even in this moment harkens back a
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.