Movie Review - Waiting for Guffman
'Waiting for Guffman' hilarious satire

Waiting for Guffman BY MARGARET A. McGURK
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Blaine, Missouri, ain't Broadway.

Still, it's bursting with creative souls yearning to hear applause sweep over the footlights.

Where do they go? To community theater, of course, to be molded into a performing troupe by Corky St. Clair, the heart and soul of Waiting for Guffman.

Waiting for Guffman
(R; vulgar language, adult themes) Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Matt Keeslar, Bob Balaban. 87 minutes. At The Esquire.

Directed and co-written (with co-star Eugene Levy) by Christopher Guest, who also plays Corky, the fake documentary is hilariously satirical yet affectionate and upbeat about its rosy-cheeked, anti-hip characters.

Corky, believed by his neighbors to be a genius, is a former Broadway hoofer who fled the cruelties of casting calls for the comforts of a small town. He claims to have a wife, whom no one has ever seen, but his real love is ''the muse.''

He has distinguished himself by burning down the theater with his dramatic staging of Backdraft, and has been drafted to help honor the town's 150th anniversary with an original musical.

The show will celebrate the historic arrival of the first settlers (who thought they were were in California), the growth of the local footstool factory (making Blaine the world's ''stool capital''), and the visit by alien abducters (who shared a potluck dinner with the abductees).

Somehow, Corky persuades an actual producer -- the title's Guffman -- to come to the show, inspiring hysterical optimism in the company. Corky, for instance, demands $100,000 from the town council for his production budget.

Things don't work out quite as planned, but the good-hearted folks of Blaine, Mo., don't really mind. Nor, for that matter, do Corky's players, whose post-show interviews prove that true show people always, but always, keep the sunny side up.

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