For Your Consideration
During production on a modest little movie about a 1940s Jewish family, the on-set atmosphere undergoes a drastic change when the performances of three of the actors—“mom” Catherine O’Hara, “dad” Harry Shearer, and “daughter” Parker Posey—start generating Oscar buzz. Director Christopher Guest and his co-writer Eugene Levy abandon their customary mockumentary style (A Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman, etc.) for “straight” comedy, with all their usual actors along again—including John Michael Higgins, Jennifer Coolidge, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Larry Miller, Paul Dooley, and themselves. Individual scenes are hilarious and the whole movie is a pleasant diversion, but there’s an air of improvisational vamping, waiting for the magic to kick in; the satire never quite shifts into high gear.