By JB Baladad (Sugar Land, TX)
Welcome to the crazy, wacky (but not really) world of “mascotry”!
Mascots (2016) takes us to the lives of hopeful sports mascots from across the globe all vying for the most prestigious honor in “mascotry”, The Gold Fluffy. It’s as silly and peculiar as it sounds, but hey! Why not, right?
Christopher Guest has quite a decent resumé of films he’d written and/or directed (i.e. Best in Show, Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap), and with familiar faces like Jane Lynch (Glee), Zach Woods (Silicon Valley), Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), and Fred Willard all making an appearance, I was hopeful I’d get to see a nice, fun film I could watch on Netflix as I just lay down in my couch as comfortably as I can.
Mascots is a comedy approached as a mockumentary, which I initially thought was a nice call if they really want to make the audience feel like this is all a thing; this is real life, and these are real people, so we’re told. If there’s one person who could pull off a really good mockumentary, you can definitely count on Guest.
Unfortunately, the movie leans more into being a mockumentary, and a very stale one at that. Did it fare well as a comedy?
A little over 5 minutes into the 1st Act, I already felt like the mockumentary aspect of it had overstayed its welcome. The first 10-15 minutes were crammed with character intro after character intro, all through interviews that made little to no effort to further the plot or develop the characters in it. I knew at that point that this was going nowhere fast.
I hoped as the 2nd act approached that the story would start to pick up the pace, but Act 1 had already taken out all the fun for the rest of the film. It was almost as if they made no attempt to throw in a petty joke or two. There were certain parts of it where I didn’t know whether I should be laughing or not. Some attempts at slapstick comedy were fine. I mean, let’s face it, the longer you look at a humping Fist Mascot, the funnier it (probably) gets. Couldn’t help but imagine them telling themselves “It’s a movie about silly mascots coming together. The joke practically writes itself!” as they were developing the screenplay.
What we got as a result was a movie following a bunch of weird people coming together, doing weird things. Not a single character came out NOT looking stupid. If this is what they intended to do, it frankly did not work. As the final act came, all the care in the world towards what was happening or who was in it: All gone.
Mascots had a concept that was in itself, knowingly silly; the least they could have done was make the most out it. There were so many ways the film could’ve done better, either visually or through clever dialogue. Maybe even both. Why won’t you give us both?!
As far as Guest’s attempts at a mockumentary are concerned, this may be his most lackluster one to date. It’s really unfortunate that Mascots ended up feeling like a half-assed, straight-to-DVD comedy that was robbed of its potential. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why this doesn’t have a theatrical release. Huh…
Mascots is available now on Netflix! Watch it and let me know what you think.