Like many, I'm sure, I was excitedly awaiting the next Christopher Guest movie - and coming in to this one, all indications (cast, premise, trailer, Netflix involvement) were encouraging. I was genuinely excited to sit down and watch it.
Sadly, Mascots does not deliver against the high standard Guest fans have come to expect. It's essentially Best In Show without the charm, spontaneity or laughs.
Although you have to believe all involved wanted to make something special, the inescapable lingering impression is of a very distinct 'Guest' formula (specifically, the variation of it applied in Best In Show) being reapplied with a (slightly) different cast and setting, but *without* inspiration or enthusiasm. The character introductions, the first-night cocktail party, the build-up to the event, the event itself, and the where-are-they now recap: *all* these elements were there, which is not necessarily a problem, but without some added magic (e.g., some innovative spark, something that creatively/emotionally unites the various story threads, or even just some consistent unexpected laughs) you're left with a pretty joyless, formulaic exercise in painting by numbers.
I kept waiting and wanting to be emotionally invested in the movie, but never was. Someone won the gold Fluffy - but so what - someone had to. The 'network people' thread, set up as something that would have a huge bearing on the Fluffies' future, went nowhere. NOWHERE! They turned out to be from Burbank, not NYC (this demonstrates the standard of the jokes), and were then shunted aside to deal with the degenerate in the rabbit suit. We never saw them again. Oh well.
It's as though, in the absence of any really interesting new ideas, Guest has just returned to an old well and repeated himself, and expected a paying audience to accept it. It felt like a contractual obligation. It's an unfortunate thing.
I love so many of his earlier movies so much that I can't/won't give up hope. I just hope his next one delivers a bit more, well, entertainment.