Christopher Guest (Known for his role as guitarist Nigel Tufnel in ‘This is Spinal Tap.) has returned to the director’s chair (and even has a little cameo) for the Netflix original film ‘Mascots’, which introduces us, in semi-mockumentary form, to people who live lives as mascots for sports events at different schools in different locations. They tell the cameraman about the ups, as well as the often humorous downs of being dressed up in fuzzy outfits. Guest has also directed ‘Waiting For Guffman’, and ‘Best in Show’. (Two films I have yet to watch.) With the material he and Jim Piddock have written, the Netflix original has potential to be clever, and it tries; but almost none of the jokes hit. In fact, this film would work better as a BBC series in the same vein as ‘The Office’ with Ricky Gervais.
I could also see this film ending up on Cartoon Network’s ‘Adult Swim’ block with its absurd humor and minor sexual situations; maybe even Comedy Central. Netflix should at least have more great films in their collection, but it seems that the only good original programming comes from original shows such as ‘Orange is the New Black’, ‘BoJack Horseman’, and the most recent ‘Stranger Things’. I would have more fun watching the ever-depressing ‘A Very Murray Christmas’ than this disappointment. At least ‘A Very Murray Christmas’ had Bill Murray as the star. With ‘Mascots’, we have Parker Posey doing her character’s sister’s routine in a terribly made armadillo costume that could easily be mistaken for a rat if none were the wiser, and Chris O’Dowd as a pot-smoking sex-fiend.
At least we have Jane Lynch and Fred Willard to save this show from becoming a disaster. Lynch plays a former mascot who is one of the judges for The Fluffies; an awards show given to the mascot with the best routine, along with Ed Begley Jr. and Don Lake, who are also the judges. While Willard does the same old Fred Willard schtick that makes him likable. Tom Bennett is also a somewhat likable presence as a competitor named Owen Golly Jr. (The “Golly” in his name is actually pronounced like “Jolly”.) The moments he is on-screen are the most enjoyable. I would say that watching the actual competition is the most soothing part of the film (and my reason for a D-). The problem with the scene itself however, is all of it is routine and barely any jokes to make me belly laugh. I have not expected ‘Mascots’ to actually be good, and my prediction is correct.