Netflix’s latest comedy falls flat with a B-List star studded cast. Director Christopher Guest (Best in Show, Spinal Tap) brings to the screen a mockumentary that comes off as one giant cruel joke. At first the concept seems like it would be right in Guest’s wheelhouse, filled with quirky characters, but the director/co-writer doesn’t manage to come out of this film unscathed. Somebody forgot to tell Guest that the mockumentary genre that he helped make famous is now a tired format that causes many eyes to roll.
Like Guest’s previous mockumentaries, a la Spinal Tap and Best In Show, Mascots focuses again on unique quirky characters. Guest follows a collection of mascots as they go to compete in the annual mascot competition to win the Gold Fluffy. There’s the bickering couple Mike and Mindy (Zach Woods and Sarah Baker); Phil (Christopher Moynihan), who hopes that he can win the heart of his old high school crush; Owen Golly, Jr. (Tom Bennett), who has taken on the family mascoting duty from his father (Jim Piddock); a devoted dancer (Parker Posey) who travels with her half-sister Laci (Susan Yeagley); and Tommy (Chris O’Dowd) the resident bad-boy of the mascoting world. The brilliance of Guest is that he can create these worlds that are that… could actually be real. There are also another batch of odd characters such as judges, the coaches, and other unusual characters whom you’d assume would attend a very unusual competition such as mascoting.
While the main cast is filled with newcomers to Guest’s roster he does hold on to his ol’ reliables like Jane Lynch, Bob Balaban, Fred Willard, and many others. That might be why the film doesn’t manage to find it’s tone and end up shuffling along in a very uncomfortable way. The lack of connection between the actors in each scene is strikingly obvious even amongst those who have worked together for years. Maybe the lack of connection is due to the lack of interesting relationships and characters. Maybe Guest relied too much on the weird concept of mascoting being considered a sport to care about the fact that the entire film is like watching an awkward, unattractive teen try to become popular, but failing miserably. Then there’s the fact that the jokes are brought up once then immediately pushed to the sidelines.
Overall Mascots is a disappointing film that will leave the viewers wondering why it got made in the first place.
2.5 out of 5 Stars