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A MIGHTY WIND

When a bunch of folk singers from the sixties get together for a benefit concert, they discover they still know how to make music. Sort of.


CAST: Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean, Larry Miller, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard

DIRECTOR: Christopher Guest

"A musical reunion of sixties folk singers is the ripe comic subject of ‘A Mighty Wind,’ the latest achingly funny movie from director Christopher Guest and his merry pranksters…I always wish these films were lengthier; at a time when so many bad Hollywood movies are bloated way past the two-hour mark, it seems criminally negligent for Guest to trim his glories…Like Robert Altman, Guest specializes in assembling a crazy quilt of characters around some unifying event and then heating up the ferment. And, like Altman, he’s cultivated a stock company of players whose work together is so intuitively sharp that it seems to redefine the boundaries of acting…If, for example, you think that the presence of Eugene Levy (who co-wrote the film with Guest) and Catherine O’Hara as the estranged, shell-shocked singing couple Mitch & Mickey signals broad humor, the surprise is that their scenes together, while deep-down funny, are also immensely touching." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"‘A Mighty Wind’ is a treasure chest of human oddity, brimming with deluded, myopic but mostly decent people all nursing pet obsessions… a great comedy—Guest’s most nuanced, controlled, expertly acted picture so far, and perhaps his deepest…Like all Guest films, ‘A Mighty Wind’ is about people learning to live with disappointment by refusing to admit it. Guest and his collaborators are sweet but not sticky. They understand human nature; it’s been a long time since I saw a Hollywood movie with so much love in it." --Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Press

"Mr. Guest, his writing collaborator Eugene Levy (who also plays Mitch), and their goofy deadpan ensemble have decided to resuscitate the commercial folk music that survives nowadays mostly at summer camp singalongs and on public television, and they have done so with sweet-natured, loony affection…the pickers and chirpers of ‘A Mighty Wind’ are immune to embarrassment and utterly devoted to their own peculiar notions of artistic accomplishment and show-business glory…The music may be perfectly awful — actually it is both perfect and awful — but its power, this movie suggests, is nothing to laugh at. Or so you might realize, if you could only stop laughing long enough to form the thought." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"The mock documentary may seem like too easy a contrivance, but what's notable about Guest's movies isn't how much humor he and Levy wring out of their dog people and folk musicians but how much humanity. The jokes would be funny even if they weren't perfectly timed, but what makes them come across as so poignant is the seriousness with which the director and his co-conspirators deliver their jabs and japes. It isn't that Guest is afraid to mock his characters; it's that he takes them seriously, even when he's going in for the kill…few filmmakers today can show us our most ridiculous selves with as much merciless wit and tender mercy." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"Guest has a genius for capturing the earnestness, ego and fragility of people who clump together out of shared special interest, such as the community theater hopefuls of ‘Waiting for Guffman’ and the dog breeders of ‘Best in Show’…As in documentaries, the camera catches its subjects immersed in their own vanities and self-delusions: blow-hards, nincompoops, the terminally mediocre. But the humor in each of Guest's successive pictures is gradually thinning, like the hair of the old folkies in this movie…the hippy-dippy folk-music era has little resonance today, even though the filmmakers obviously have great affection for it." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News

"This could be an essay in contempt — the movie's title suggests a corrective fart aimed at the ghost of folk pop — but what's the fun in that? These gifted improv-ers of course locate the ludicrous…But Guest also trusts any actor's tendency to fall in love with his character — and find elaborate rationales for goofy behavior…Old folkies will spot the genres being guyed. Others will enjoy little frissons, like Guest's literally sheepish tenor (he baas his lyrics). The rest can just happily hum along…the sweetest and funniest of Guest's true-life fake-umentaries." --Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

"'A Mighty Wind’ sees the piercingly droll Christopher Guest resurrecting the MO he has scored with so successfully in the past--lovingly lampooning those with an all-encompassing passion for unfashionable pastimes…In this hilarious, pitch-perfect comedy, Guest and his longtime collaborator, co-writer and star Eugene Levy, have the quaint, golly-gee enthusiasm of folkies and their music in the cross-hairs…Levy's a stand-out, but the cast is uniformly great…Canny editing that cuts away at the peak of the hilarity keeps the laughter bubbling, and some of the improvised dialogue is inspired--which makes the labored joke that forms the epilogue seem like even more of a mistake." --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post

"While America searches for a new protest song to go with its new war, improvisational comedian and director Christopher Guest fills the void by placing his foot squarely in the tush of the 1960s folk movement. ‘A Mighty Wind’ doesn't kick very hard, though. It's a love tap, really--flat, broad, and scrupulously nice…the movie kind of stands around looking for something to do, not unlike the distressingly underemployed Parker Posey, who has a single good scene playing the ukulele for a group of unamused schoolkids." --Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

"‘A Mighty Wind’ is the most sweet-spirited of these send-ups from Guest, who, along with co-writer Eugene Levy, seems determined to remake the same movie in as many different disguises as possible…The locus of ‘A Mighty Wind's’ surprising heart is Mitch and Mikey (Levy and Catherine O'Hara), former showbiz lovers whose eventual separation sent Mitch into a tailspin of depression and mental hospitals…The sentimentality effectively undercuts the urban condescension that invariably seeps into Guest's spins on middle-American provincialism." --Jan Stuart, Newsday