Have you ever been struck by a gnawing curiosity about the characters who stand on the sidelines of your favorite sports? Have you found yourself contemplating the inner workings of their lives and the struggles they face on a daily basis? If you belong to the minority of humans who ask these questions, Mascots is the movie for you. Those in the majority who would rather simply watch a game, however, will find that Mascots offers a long-winded plot that the audience tolerates for the rare moments of genuine novelty and hilarity within the film.
Directed by mockumentary enthusiast Christopher Guest, Mascots hit Netflix on Oct. 13. The film aims to document the previously unexplored niche of mascots and their journeys to a mascot competition in which the highest prize is the Golden Fluffy.
Mascots follows five acts in particular, with the first act starring Mike Murray (Zach Woods) and Mindy Murray (Sarah Baker). The Murrays fit the bill for the classic unhappy married couple that remains together for no reason apparent to anyone. They begin the film’s trend of awkward silence that can be funny for a second or two, but ultimately just results in the audience feeling uncomfortable. Their act involves a bright red and green duo that miserably pumps up the dismal fanbase of a minor league baseball team. The second mascot act involves a family dynasty of Golly men (Tom Bennett and Jim Piddock) from England who have played Sid, a soccer mascot. The third act encompasses the beauty pageant-esque “white trash” of the competitive mascot world, starring the sister combo of Cindi Babineaux (Parker Posey) and Laci Babineaux (Susan Yeagley). They tackle the issues of feminism through a contemporary dance routine of an armadillo, which actually does hold the hilarity expected that the others lack. The fourth act consists of a pervy, violent rogue named Tommy (Chris O’Dowd) who portrays The Fist, the official mascot of his town’s hockey team. The final act holds the position of most pathetic among the mascots, for it is comoised of a lonely man named Phil (Christopher Moynihan) whose entire life revolves around his passion for playing a plumber at high school football games.
Mayhem erupts among these five acts when they come together for a mascot competition in Anaheim, Calif. At last wiggling out of their irrelevant holes in society, the cast members come together to be judged by a panel of three, with the most notable judge being Gabby Monkhouse (Jane Lynch), a once-renowned mascot who was forced to retire due to injury and subsequently wrote an autobiography chronicling the tale of her journey to God and a successful real estate career. Leading up to the big night, the acts unravel in the most predictable of ways. The resolution of all of these moving parts seems to occur as expected as well, and the film closes on a happy ending for the characters—if happy ending translates to a stark kind of contentment with their pitiful lives.
The main issue with Mascots is the wide gap between the comedic potential a movie of this subject could have and what Guest presents audiences with. The world of mascots is uncharted territory, and this advantage could result in some seriously novel characters and storylines. Instead, the film mostly recycles archetypes many comedic movies already possess and assigns them a bizarre mascot, including those of Guest’s other mockumentary films like Best in Show. The more stylistic issue with Mascots revolves around how the mockumentary genre was roughly developed. The fast camera cuts unique to mockumentaries were a bit too fast for an audience to really process jokes, resulting in some solid jokes that did not land properly. Some silences utilized in the film lasted too long and proceeded to make whatever could have been funny exceedingly awkward.
Regardless of these issues, there were some genuine moments of hilarity from standout stars Lynch and Bennett. They offered unique comedic execution that made the 90-minute movie intriguing at times. Overall, however, the viewer seems to just trail along through the film without any building interest in what will occur next.
While Mascots provides some interspersed chuckles and somewhat interesting storyline, the ultimate impression left on the viewer is lackluster. If nothing else, Mascots will perhaps make you question who the person underneath the Baldwin head really is the next time you’re at a Boston College football game.
Featured Image By Netflix