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A TV honcho (Rob Reiner) has decided that his cable station, San Francisco-based TrueTV, needs something to pump up the ratings. Program director Cynthia Topping (Ellen DeGeneres) comes up with an audacious make or break plan: select an ordinary guy and have a camera crew simply follow him around 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No script, no editing, no rehearsals, no interruptions. After auditioning numerous hopefuls, they settle for Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey), an amiable, easy-going video store clerk with an ready grin. His brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson), is all for the idea, but his mother, Jeanette (Sally Kirkland) and stepfather, Al (Martin Landau), aren't as enthused. Eventually, the lure of fame and money prod Ed to give his okay, and EDtv is born. Ratings begin to soar when Ed and his brother's pretty girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman), admit their mutual attraction on air. Soon, other women, like the sexy, predatory Jill (Elizabeth Hurley), are after Ed, and he discovers that national recognition has as many downsides as upsides.

"Industry analysts believe EDtv's disappointing performance at the U.S. box-office earlier this year stemmed from the fact that moviegoers didn't want to pay to see a reworking of The Truman Show. If that's the case, then more's the pity because while it does canvas themes similar to those advanced in the celebrated Weir/Carrey film, vis-a-vis invasion of privacy, media manipulation, fame and its legacy etc, in most aspects ED tv (which, incidently, is a remake of an obscure 1994 French Canadian film called Louis 19: King of the Airwaves) is significantly different. Unlike poor old Truman, Ed is a willing participant in a game he largely controls; the people around him are not actors and the cameras couldn't be more conspicuous. Unlike Truman, however, Ed lacks the kind of rebellious spirit audiences love to applaud. He is, after all, exactly what the network wanted - an ordinary, everyday Joe leading an ordinary, everyday life. Sadly, at the half way mark, after we have familiarised ourselves with all of Ed's mundane personal and familial conflicts, it's that very same ordinariness which proves to be the film's major handicap. That said, on a technical level, director Howard keeps interest high with a bewildering profusion of cinema verite-style camera angles and split screen shots which perfectly captures television's sense of pace and immediacy. As the eponymous bug under the microscope, Matthew McConaughey is ideally cast, and there's good work from Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson, Sally Kirkland and Martin Landau in key supporting roles. Despite its flaws, EDtv is still worth a look."
Leo Cameron

"From the outset, there are comparisons to be made between Peter Weir's Truman Show and EdTV; mostly, they're unwarranted. Truman has nothing to fear - it's vastly superior to this rather silly and at times, slow piece of mindless piffle. EdTV is a film with some great ideas about the nature of fame and mass media. But that's all they are: ideas. The film resembles a series of TV sitcom vignettes minus the comedy. In fact, for a comedy, and given who wrote the script, it's very short of laughs. Instead, it's a laborious, overlong film with some nice moments, a few delightful performances, but no real intelligence. Perhaps that's the point it's trying to make, and unlike Truman, Ed is simplistic, catering for the masses and taking them for granted. Matthew McConaughey is charming enough, but lacks any real charisma and here, his charm wears a bit thin. As for Jenna Elfman, she's annoying one-note and completely facile in her approach. Woody Harrelson is far more effective as Ed's boorish brother, and Rob Reiner is hilarious as the TV network boss. Also strong is the wonderful Martin Landau as Ed's stepfather. Directed laboriously by Howard, EdTV is a film comprised of moments; regrettably, those moments are few and far between."
Paul Fischer

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EdTV (M)

CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson, Martin Landau, Sally Kirkland, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley

PRODUCERS: Brian Grazer & Ron Howard

DIRECTOR: Ron Howard

SCRIPT: Michel Poulette


EDITOR: Daniel P.Hanley

MUSIC: Randy Edelman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Corenblith

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes



VIDEO RELEASE: Oct 27, 1999


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