Did Christopher Guest Stop Doing Mockumentaries Because of The Office?

It’s been five years now since Christopher Guest’s last film For Your Consideration hit theatres, and although he did a short film and tour with Spinal Tap and also appeared in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and The Invention of Lying, there hasn’t been any official word on a new feature film from him. A couple of years ago there were rumours that he might be planning a comedy that revolved around obsessive collectors, but things quickly went silent on that front. Then at the Oscars this year, Guest and his posse turned in a brilliant sketch about focus groups, leading many people to wonder why it’s taking so long for the next Christopher Guest movie to materialize. This week we finally have a bit of an explanation thanks to Eugene Levy; unfortunately, as it turns out there may not even be another Christopher Guest movie. Here’s what he had to say:

“Well, we had a little reunion at the Oscars. To answer that question, there’s nothing on the horizon. We really didn’t want to do another movie that’s a cookie-cutter movie, where you’ve got the same kind of style, but you just change the subject. Everybody is doing that fake documentary style now. Even TV shows are using that fake documentary style. So, there’s nothing novel about that, anymore. And we haven’t really hit on an idea that moves us and that we both agree on, but we’re always talking.”

It’s true that the mockumentary style is everywhere now, thanks to the popularity of shows like The Office and Modern Family. From what I remember, For Your Consideration actually pulled back on the faux documentary aesthetics a bit, possibly because Guest realized it was starting to get a bit stale. Still, it’s sad to think that the king of this subgenre has given up on it just when it is at the peak of its popularity. For Your Consideration made just $5 million worldwide… this could be his chance to make a real box office hit! What do you think… are you disappointed that Christopher Guest may never make another mockumentary or do you think he’s right to stay away from a format that’s been completely played out?

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  • Colin

    The reason that Christopher Guest mockumentaries work is that they appear to have a real appreciation (or at least fascination) with the subjects they’re mocking. If the Guest Crew hasn’t yet found a subject that’s interesting enough to them to do it justice, then I applaud them for their restraint.

  • Bram

    Yeah I’d really be into him coming back but I can see where he’s coming from. Still I don’t think the concept is as played out as he seems to believe. The topic of the film is always so specialized that its never been done before and it will feel original.

  • Kasper

    I don’t like the mockumentary style on tv, and I’ve never seen a movie done that way, so to me it’s no big loss. It’s a type of comedy I’d like to see go away asap (again, on tv at least).

  • Steve

    I don’t mind the mockumentary style on TV. I think it works well for all the shows that it’s used on and it’s an effective way to get across a lot of information in 21 minutes. It’s become ubiquitous enough now that you don’t need to justify the style each time, similar to found footage (i.e. “We have to record this because…”). But I don’t blame him for backing off something because it’s becoming more popular, especially he’s one of the people responsible for popularizing it.

  • Kurt

    It doesn’t sound like they are stopping, merely hunting around for an idea/project that everyone is passionate about. The Oscar bit was pure comedy gold, so I’m hoping they find their subject soon. I love The Guest-Players in just about everything they do, and it keeps Eugene Levy away from those bill-paying AMERICAN PIE sequels, so there is that.

  • Gerry

    As one of the people who saw For Your Consideration at the cinema I’d be sad if the team never made another mockumentary, or any film come to that.

    They’re too talented to give up, especially given some of the shit that passes for comedy that got theatrical releases recently.

    I’ve no idea why members of the team aren’t asked to guest star in some of the current theatrical comedies. They’d bring a touch of class to some dross.

  • When is that documentary crew going to have enough footage of a paper making company in Scranton? It’s been, what, 8 years? What could their documentary possibly be about?

  • rjdelight

    I’ve always assumed that the documentary crew following the characters was filming them for a TV show, along the lines of Cake Boss, or any of the billion other reality shows on TV.

  • Hugo

    Sounds like someone needs a gritty reboot.