(On DVD, May 2011) As much as writer/director Christopher Guest’s ensemble improvisation mockumentaries have produced some gems in the past (Best in Show), the format can also be a recipe for an unfocused mess, and that’s pretty much what happens with For Your Consideration. Another Hollywood home movie that probably feels funnier to the filmmakers than the filmgoers, For Your Consideration depicts the sudden accession to stardom that veteran actors can face. As their film earns favourable buzz and increased media attention, the protagonists react in different ways that show variations on Hollywood’s fundamental insecurities. So far so good; alas, I never completely bought into the film’s reality: Awards buzz starts once the film is completed and shown to audiences, not while it’s shooting; furthermore, actors who run good chances of being Oscar-nominated usually end up with a slew of other awards and nominations, making the film’s downfall moments ring a bit hollow. It really doesn’t help that For Your Consideration seems to be running everywhere without focus, lame scenes flashing by without necessarily making a point. (Tellingly, the DVD contains a number of deleted scenes that don’t appear any more or less funny than what’s in the film itself –the sole exception being more of Nina Conti’s delightful ventriloquism.) Even the film’s lack of time/space unity (jumping months forward in time after a lengthy first segment) seems just as sloppy as the rest of the picture. The actors are fine (Fred Willard is hilarious as usual), some of the material is admirable and the glimpse behind the Hollywood mythmaking machine is amusing, but it just doesn’t cohere into anything as good as it should be. At least the DVD audio commentary makes it clear that the largely-improvised filmmaking process is to blame.