The Star-Studded Comedy Hidden Gem You Can Stream On HBO Max

Do you love dogs? Do you love laughing at their weird, weird owners even more? Are you still itching for more Catherine O'Hara/Eugene Levy onscreen shenanigans a year after the end of Schitt's Creek? HBO Max has just the thing for you.

Anyone familiar with Best in Show director and star Christopher Guest's filmography already knows his SOP; the filmmaker assembles a small army of brilliant improvisors and turned them loose on a niche, cringingly self-serious real world community, as seen in Waiting for Guffman, For Your Consideration, and Mascots. In this case, it's the world of competitive dog shows. The cast includes a variety of frequent Guest collaborators — Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara play Gerry and Cookie Fleck, a couple burdened by overspending, doting on the terrier that serves as the muse for their musical numbers. Parker Posey and Michael Hitchcock appear as a couple whose proclivities may have permanently traumatized their Weimaraner. Guest himself shows up as Harlan Pepper, a bait shop owner with a bloodhound and a dream of becoming a famous ventriloquist. Also, he can name every nut. It's a strange film.

Best in Show will win you over

These characters and others compete to see whose dog will win "Best in Show" at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, where Fred Willard provides some of the greatest Fred Willardry of all time. That the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show is fictional is neither here nor there. Weirdly, according to an interview in Philadelphia Magazine, Best in Show would go on to inspire NBC's annual Thanksgiving dog show after one of the higher ups at the network became enamored with the film.

He wasn't the only one who felt that way, either. Best in Show received near-universal critical acclaim when it debuted in 2000. Rotten Tomatoes calculates a 94% approval rating from reviewers. Roger Ebert gave it three and a half out of four stars, lauding the filmmakers for using "every instrument in the satirist's arsenal, from the skewer to the mallet" and declaring that "Guest nails down his command of the comedy mockumentary, a genre he helped to invent by co-writing and starring in This Is Spinal Tap."

Like a lot of the director's work, Best in Show didn't exactly blow up the box office, but it remains a beloved cult classic for fans of uncomfortable comedy. It's worth going after like it's made out of ham.