(out of 5)
This one’s got nothing on The Truman Show, though they are very different films: Peter Weir’s classic was about human nature breaking free of oppressive uniformity, while Ron Howard’s geeky comedy is about the human obsession with voyeurism and gossip. Ellen DeGeneres is a television producer who comes up with a brilliant idea for boosting sagging network ratings: turn a guy’s real life into a television show (unlike Jim Carrey, though, this guy will be aware of it). Sexy and charming Ed (Matthew McConaughey) ends up being the lucky choice, and for a few months he gets pressured by viewers into breaking relationships, changing jobs and upgrading his lifestyle. Elizabeth Hurley has a brilliant little bit as a woman willing to have sex with Ed onscreen to boost her chances at becoming a star (though as tragic as her character is, she’s the one personality type that has proved to come true in the boon of reality television since this film was released). McConaughey is perfect for this role, shit-eating grin and all, but even his talents can’t make the film more than only moderately interesting.
Imagine Entertainment, Universal Pictures
Directed by Ron Howard
Cinematography by John Schwartzman
Music by Randy Edelman
Production Design by Michael Corenblith
Costume Design by Rita Ryack