In a Hail Mary move for corporate preservation, the San Francisco based Northwest Broadcasting Corporation launches True TV, a new network which will broadcast the life of an Average Joe or Jane, 24/7 live and thus unedited, the subject chosen signed initially for one month. The project is conceived and led by one of the producers, Cynthia, but her boss, NWBC president Whitaker, will take the credit if it succeeds, and let her sink as the captain of the ship if it fails. The network is rebranded EdTV when Cynthia believes she's found her subject, Ed Pekurny, a native Texas hayseed, who fits the two main criteria that she is looking for in the person: he is easy on the eyes, and he has what seems to be a potential trainwreck of a life in that he he is thirty-one years old, spends most of his time hanging out at the bar, and has no ambition beyond his longtime dead end job as a clerk in a video store. Ed did not actively campaign for the job - his blowhard of a brother Ray was the one ... Written by
This film and "The Truman Show" were aware the other project existed during their pre-production phases, but Edtv was not that concerned for two reasons: they knew that TTS was very much a drama and their film would be a comedy, and they did not expect the other film to be a huge hit because they felt audiences would not turn out in large numbers to see Jim Carrey doing a drama that was so removed from his multi-year run of comedic blockbusters. One side effect that hurt Edtv was the huge summer 1998 success of "The Truman Show", which led Universal to insist that the promotions for Edtv make it look like more of a broad slapstick comedy than it actually was, and contributed to the film underachieving after its March 1999 release. See more »
When Ed is talking to Shari from the street, it's clearly raining pretty steadily. Everything outside is dripping wet and Ed's hair is soaked and rain noise is clear, yet his jacket is dry and no raindrops can be seen hitting the ground. See more »
True TV launch their new concept Real Life TV, where cameras will follow one person's life 24/7 and put it all unedited on TV. When Ed is dragged into his brother's audition tape he catches the eye of the studio and he becomes the lucky subject of edtv! However when he falls for Ray's girlfriend Shari things get difficult and he finds that his new found fame is not all it cracked up to be.
Stepping out of the shadow of The Truman Show came another film about reality TV and the nature of fame. However this has little to do with Truman in terms of content, instead it tries to be more of a comedy and tries to mix a little bit of social comment. The story is essentially a romance but it doesn't convince. It doesn't work simply because the whole idea of looking at fame, reality tv and studios is more interesting (even if it doesn't come off). The film promises much but doesn't fully use it's potential the comedy is never a funny as you hope, the look at fame and TV is never as clever or as deep as you think.
It's a shame that it isn't better because the cast is good on paper. McConaughey is still a rising star (although needs a big hit soon). Harrelson is good as he usually is when in support and Elfman is pretty good as Shari. The support cast is great too Landau is funny, DeGeneres is good, Reiner is funny and wicked while lesser roles are filled out by the likes of Hurley, Dennis Hopper, Clint Howard. Get past these and you have tonnes of little cameos from the likes of Harry Shearer, Michael Moore, Jay Leno and George Plimpton.
Overall this is enjoyable it's just that you feel that all of it's parts have potential that are never fully realised. It's OK but you can't help feeling that it's a missed opportunity.
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