EDTv (1999) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sex-related situations, partial nudity and crude language
Running Time: 122 min.
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman, Sally Kirkland, Martin Landau, Ellen DeGeneres, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley, Adam Goldberg
Small role: Arianna Huffington, Rick Overton, RuPaul, Gedde Watanabe, Harry Shearer, Michael Moore, George Plimpton, Bill Maher, Jay Leno
Director: Ron Howard
Screenplay: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel (based on the screenplay for Louis 19, le roi des ondes)
Review published June 26, 1999
A struggling San Francisco TV station throws a Hail Mary to save themselves, wherein they will film the life of a local citizen for 24 hours a day and broadcast it live. They locate Ed Pekurny (McConaughey, Contact), a not-too-bright but very engaging personality who becomes an instant sensation. But the constant filming causes tensions within his family and his new girlfriend. When popularity starts to dip, the station begins contriving situations for Ed, but his happiness begins to dissolve but can't get out of his contract.
The successful marriage of director Ron Howard (Ransom, Apollo 13) with screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Fathers' Day, A League of Their Own), who joined forces for Night Shift, Splash, and Parenthood has finally encountered it's first dud. The film is a wildly mixed bag, seeming to hit its stride every few minutes only to be undercut by prolonged periods of stupidity and redundancy.
A lackluster but energetic cast do what they can, but the plot is a mess and most of the characters are unnecessary. On top of this is the overwhelming sense of deja vu having just seen The Truman Show the year before, and MTV's "The Real World" for many years before that. Too many ideas, too many characters, too many contrivances and not enough depth keep this from being nothing more than a collection of a handful of funny moments strung together by a series of phony baloney plot devices you've seen before (and seen better).
©2001 Vince Leo