Movie Review: “Mascots” – A Wayward Follow-up

Written by Matt Butler October 27, 2016

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It’s hard to know where to start with Mascots. I could start with how not-funny it is, but there’s only so many ways you can say something wasn’t funny. There’s certainly dozens of reasons WHY certain jokes work and others don’t (ie. comedic timing, poor setup, butchered delivery) but right now, I’m still struggling just to make any sense of Mascots. I mean, in what universe do we hold international competitions for sports mascots? In what universe would anyone take this seriously? This is, of course, the central gag of Best In Show, which shares the same director as Mascots (Christopher Guest), the majority of its ensemble cast, as well as its style, plot and story. In Best In Show, we enter the movie with the oft-hand understanding that yes, these people, these dog-adorning, puppy paraders DO exist, and they take themselves way too seriously, and that’s funny. With Mascots, we’re expected to treat the premise of sports mascot competitions with the same ridicule. The trouble is, these people don’t exist, so it’s hard to know how to feel.

Now, I don’t think Best In Show is an especially funny comedy, but I can understand why it works, and in turn why Mascots doesn’t. On top of its focus on a niche group of nitwits, Best In Show is never in on its joke. These people don’t believe they are making asses of themselves, they believe with a passion that their dogs are the emblem and extension of their personalities, as most dog-lovers do. Because it’s associated with something real, and because it’s not treated as a joke by the characters, you can start to rationalize why someone would participate in this inane excuse for a sport. It’s a grounding in reality (absurd reality, but reality nonetheless) that’s missing in Mascots. Sports mascots don’t and probably never will have their own sport (please, if there is such a thing, let me know in the comments), largely because being a sports mascot is a publicly accepted form of degradation. Dog shows are put on to embrace a passion. Mascot outfits are put on to embrace a paycheque.

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“I wrote a book and I got more applause than you did.”

Still, I’m reminded of that episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, ‘The Fry Cook Games’, in which Spongebob and Patrick go toe-to-toe in an Olympic battle of fried food and frozen dairy treats. Another absurd setup, but even there, I understand the context of an olympic game. Also, the show is no stranger to the fry cook theme. I guess the point I’m getting at is that I have no entryway into Mascots. I don’t know whether it expects me to take it seriously or to treat it all as a joke.

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“Mascotting is not unlike a marriage. It’s about cooperating, listening, even when people scream at you, you’re not allowed to talk.”

Watching Mascots is like watching a 3-minute game of improv run for an hour and a half. Jane Lynch manages to find her element for a scene or two, but everyone else seems feigning to even try. It’s a collection of A-class comedians parading their weakest B-material. I would feel insulted by it if I could only remember anything about it.

My Rating: 3/10mascots-poster-600x889

 

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About Matt Butler

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is a strapping young English Major with a fiery passion for the art of cinematic storytelling. He likes long walks on the beach and knows the proper use of 'your' and 'you're'. (Example: I hope YOU'RE having a wonderful time browsing our site, and I hope you enjoy YOUR time reading my film reviews. I wrote them just for you.)

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