It's not for nothing that this is being called a "mockumentary." It's
comedic spoof; mockery, documentary style, but as a vehicle to mock a
phenomenon of the 60's there's considerable affection and accuracy here for
that decade's folk craze. For the comedic palate of Christopher Guest who
brought us another mocking documentary, "Best in Show" which won an academy
award, this one centers on aging troubadours in a revival of their best years
of public support.
Those who lived through those years will have more to appreciate in this
send-up of folk types, but the dry, straightforward satire suggesting a
momentary come-back has laughs, guffaws and nods even for the uninitiate who
will recognize a rich comedy when they see one.
The recent death of a folk impresario (Irving Grossman) inspires a reunion of
his groups to honor his memory. The event is produced by his son Jonathan
(Bob Balaban) and includes such luminaries as the Folksmen (Michael McKean,
Guest and Harry Shearer), the commercial New Main Street Singers, and a duo
with a lingering emotional legacy (if not baggage), Mitch and Mickey (Eugene
Levy and Catherine O'Hara), which brought to my mind, Sonny and Cher.
The cast sings the songs, archly conceived and written for the satire,
suggesting some of the hits of the period but with decidedly less meaning and
expression of the times. The cast takes it all as seriously as required to
realize the comic intent behind some considerable silliness, but not without
some joy at the performances and regard for the phenomenon, if not the
material itself. Clearly, mockery is not the operative inspiration here,
despite the allusion to a lot of wind in the title.
The cast also mightily includes John Michael Higgins (formerly of Ally McBeal
fame), Ed Begley, Jr., Jane Lynch, the inimitable Parker Posey (on banjo) and
a Guest mainstay, Fred Willard.
This singular style of invention, patented by Christopher Guest (co-written
by him and Eugene Levy) for our amusement and joy, has brought us another
bellyfull of hilarity in a sly mode of lampooning understatement. And, in
this instance, he evokes the store of sentiment all us folkies remember and
retain. We who lived through the craze salute his wit and (hopefully)
support this film.
~~ Jules Brenner