Waiting for Guffman is a mockumentary written,starring, and directed by Christopher Guest that was released in 1997. It stars a cast of actors who have come to form an acting troupe that has appeared in a series of Guest-directed mockumentaries.
The title is a play on the title of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The plots also share enough similarities so that a knowledge of Godot will reveal things about Guffman.
This film is number 94 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".
The movie is a loving parody of community theater that seems to reflect the theme of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Set in the fictional small town of Blaine, Missouri, it chronicles the trials and tribulations of a handful of utterly delusional and talent-free residents as they prepare to put on an amateur community musical production. The show, entitled "Red, White and Blaine", is to be performed as part of the town's 150th anniversary celebration. From the flamboyant director Corky St. Clair (Guest) to perpetual Dairy Queen employee Libby Mae Brown (Parker Posey), the cast and crew scream incompetence.
As the story goes, St. Clair has presumably used connections gained from his "off-off-off-off" Broadway past to invite Mort Guffman, a Broadway producer, to critique "Red, White and Blaine". Corky leads the cast to believe that a positive review from Guffman could mean that the group can take their show all the way to Broadway.
The program itself is designed to relive the history of Blaine. Blaine's founding father was apparently a buffoon incapable of differentiating the geography of middle Missouri and the Pacific coastline. We also learn why the town refers to itself rather obtusely as "the stool capital of the United States." The music contained within is a series of grating and poorly performed songs such as "Nothing Ever Happens on Mars," - a reference to the town's supposed visit by a UFO - and "Stool Boom". The DVD contains "This Bulging River", which was edited from the theatrical release.
A central running theme to the film is the fact that St. Clair is an extremely effeminate man with stereotypically gay mannerisms, but who purports to have a wife (whom no one has ever met or even seen). In a plot twist, he has to take over the role of one of the male leads in the play at the last minute. His multiple parts include that of a young lusty frontiersman, a heartbroken soldier, and a little boy wearing a beanie and shorts. St. Clair never sheds his dainty demeanor, lispy accent or earring in spite of his historical roles, and his face is pasted with an overkill of stage rouge and eyeliner. Corky is also faced with "creating his magic" on a shoestring budget - a turn that nearly costs the cast their beloved director.
Unfortunately for the cast and crew of "Red, White and Blaine," Guffman never shows up, because his flight was canceled due to bad weather. A tourist passing through is mistaken for the late-arriving Guffman. After the tourist tells him he is here for his niece's first baby, Corky and the cast then receive the note that Guffman wont be able to make the show.
Along with Guest and Posey, the film stars Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard as Ron and Sheila Albertson, a pair of married travel agents and regular amateur performers who give us a little too much information at a certain wine-soaked dinner; Bob Balaban as Lloyd Miller, the increasingly frustrated musical director and only member of the bunch who is even marginally talented; Lewis Arquette as Clifford Wooley, a "long time Blaineian" and retired taxidermist who is "Red, White and Blaine's" bean-loving narrator; Matt Keeslar as the handsome and oblivious mechanic Johnny Savage who Corky goes out of his way to get into the play; and Eugene Levy as Dr. Alan Pearl, a tragically square dentist determined to discover his inner entertainer. Brian Doyle-Murray appears briefly as Savage's dad and boss who is immediately suspicious of Corky's eccentric behavior. Larry Miller plays the jovial town mayor. Paul Dooley makes a brief cameo describing his UFO abduction and repeated probing in matter-of-fact fashion. Comedian David Cross also appears as a local expert on the alien visitation; his Mr. Show costar Bob Odenkirk appears briefly as an auditioner in a cape. Also features a very minor cameo from comedy double-act Spankie & Grellifer.