A high school slacker who's rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.
In fact, throughout this dull and relentless tale of ordinary Joe Ed turned real-life 24-hour television star, Director Ron Howard consistently resists the obvious satire on the fallout of fame and focuses on the cloyingly saccharine romance that lies at EDTV's mushy core.
If you doubt this (and considering Howard's track record, you may), visit EDTV on DVD and you'll be treated to numerous deleted scenes that satirically drive home the point that fame is indeed a bitch. Unfortunately, these scenes are also some of the darkest, funniest and most telling in the script. (An entire subplot about an EdTV imitator that ends with tragedy was completely eliminated from the final cut.) Why then did they end up on the cutting room floor? Howard can't seem to get away from Mayberry sentimentality enough to make EDTV the film it needs to be by it's very nature. In fact, the stars of the film (Hurley, DeGeneres, Harrelson) could have made a more interesting documentary on the price of fame than EDTV does at it's cautious best.
All hail, however, the film's bright spot, Ellen DeGeneres. Yes, Ellen. With her balance of quirky humor and self-doubting charm, she manages to infuse the film with some sense of purpose and it is she (not wrongly cast lead Matthew McConaughey) that we care about.
See it for Ellen. Or, better yet, rent THE TRUMAN SHOW and cap it off with a re-run of TV's ELLEN. I guarantee more laughs and heaps more satire than the botched EDTV can ever provide.
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