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October 17, 2016

Movie Review: Mascots (Netflix, 2016)

Netflix has grabbed some big names since starting to produce their own movies and television shows. While series seems to be what most of us focus on, they've been quietly ramping up their movie production. Adam Sandler is a third of the way through his six movie deal, Ricky Gervais recently shared both a series and movie on the platform, documentaries are flowing like water, and now Christopher Guest has added a film to the service. His latest mockumentary focuses on a competition between the top twenty team mascots from around the world. It's basically Best in Show with a different setting, but it's still worth watching.

We start with Mike and Mindy Murray (Zach Woods and Sarah Baker) as a couple who performs as an octopus and turtle, respectively, for their local baseball team. The two are clearly in a difficult marriage, partly because of infidelity. Their on screen awkwardness is perfectly uncomfortable, because we've all known or been this couple. In contrast, we see a lovely English couple, the Gollys (pronounced Jolly). Owen Jr. is a third generation soccer mascot trying to prove himself to his father. Chris O'Down is an aggressive hockey mascot known as The Fist. He's a Scottish man living in Alberta because of a cult his parents started. We follow a few other interesting mascots including a worm, a plumber and an armadillo. They are all unique in strange ways.

This does, on some level, seem like the same old thing from Guest, but that's okay. If you like what he does, then you'll be happy with what you see in Mascots. Many familiar faces return for this trip down the road of the weird and wonderful. We also see some new faces. One that I was very excited to see was comedian Brad Williams. He had a great scene with Fred Willard that dove into awkward without becoming cringe-worthy.

I have to give Guest credit on how he handled the actual competition. You see several routines from the mascots, and they felt very real. One of the funniest was the act performed by the plumber mascot. I won't give it away, but it really had me cracking up. Even the failures were well done, and the audience reactions were genuine.

I would recommend Mascots, especially to anyone who is a fan of Guest's past films. This stays right in tune with the rest, and it's a lot of fun. I hope to see more from Guest and Netflix.

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