How Christopher Guest of 'Mascots' influenced the mockumentary

'Mascots,' which will debut on Netflix in October, looks to be the newest mockumentary by Christopher Guest, who also directed such comedies as 'Best in Show' and 'Waiting for Guffman.'

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Parker Posey, who frequently stars in Christopher Guest films, stars in 'Mascots,' Guest's first film since 'For Your Consideration' in 2006.

Director Christopher Guest’s newest movie “Mascots,” which appears to be a mockumentary like many of his past projects, will soon arrive on Netflix, with Mr. Guest’s newest project only the latest effort in the genre that parodies film documentaries. 

“Mascots,” which will debut on Netflix on Oct. 13, stars actors including Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard, and Zach Wood.

It is Guest’s first film he has directed since the 2006 movie awards season parody “For Your Consideration.”

Guest’s movies are often based in the mockumentary genre, with some of his past films that he has directed including “Waiting for Guffman,” which centers on a community theater production; “Best in Show,” which depicts a dog competition; and “A Mighty Wind,” which is the story of folk musicians. Guest also co-wrote the comedy “This Is Spinal Tap.”

Monitor film critic Peter Rainer called Guest’s previous film, “Consideration” (which was not a mockumentary), “hilarious … director/co-writer/actor Christopher Guest extends his perfect streak.” 

The mockumentary is a style that is associated with Guest’s work but also became popular in TV comedy in particular over the past decade or so. 

NBC’s hit comedy “The Office,” which debuted in 2005, was a sitcom about office workers who were being filmed by a documentary crew (the final season involved them finally watching the documentary), and fellow NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” and the ABC hit show “Modern Family,” which is still running, were both based on the premise that their characters were being followed around by cameras. 

Guest himself has had a big impact on this genre, according to those at the comedy institution Second City, who write of the director and writer’s work, “[Guest is] arguably the most influential writer/director in the mockumentary genre. Eons before Sacha Baron Cohen dreamed up Borat, Guest’s films were paving the parody way. [He was] instrumental in establishing, developing and advancing the genre.”

A.V. Club staff agreed, writing of Guest, “Few have done more to advance the cause of the mock-doc … the style, format, and off-the-cuff feel of [his] projects has informed entire chapters of modern screen comedy.”

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