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Movie Review

EDtv

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related situations, partial nudity, and crude language

Reviewed by: Debbie James
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
122 min.
Year of Release:
1999

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson, Martin Landau, Sally Kirkland, Rob Reiner, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Hurley, Clint Howard / Director: Ron Howard / Released by: Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment

EDtv is a well-constructed movie about a video store clerk who agrees to let an executive of a televison studio film him 24-hours-a-day for 30 days.

Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) is just an average guy with an average job, but because he has charm, he’s chosen for this unusual TV show reminscent of last year’s hit, “The Truman Show”, with the exception that he’s aware of the filming.

Things get off to a slow start with the show, which they’ve named “EDtv,” and it appears that it will be a bomb because this guy’s life is just too boring. That all changes one day when Ed goes to visit his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson), with TV camera crew in tow, and finds out he’s cheating on his girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman). As the sexual situations and “skeleton-in-the-closet” revelations about his family members occur on the EDtv show, the ratings begin to soar, and the show is renewed for another 30 days.

At first, Ed enjoys his new-found fame, but it soon becomes complicated when his girlfriend and family become tired of the constant camera intrusion into their personal lives. After the 60 days are up, he decides he’s had enough and wants to return to his normal life. He’s then told he cannot because of a clause in his contract that states that the producers (Ellen DeGeneres and Rob Reiner) can continue the show indefinitely, and he must comply or be held liable for all the station’s losses. Ed then devises a plan which he hopes will get him released.

EDtv contains an “average” amount of obscenities and profanity, including the taking of our Lord’s name in vain, but no use of the “f-word” occurs (although two characters do use the “middle-finger gesture”). There are also many crude references to genitals and sex, briefly depicted male masturbation scenes, an extended rear shot of a woman wearing only thong underwear, a quick glimpse of a woman’s bare breast during a make-out scene in a car, and another sexually explicit make-out scene (both scenes are interrupted and do not resume). Nearly every major character in the movie is sexually active, resulting in both adultery and fornication, and there’s even your “token” homosexual couple who appear in several scenes (nothing sexual is shown).

Had my husband and I known those elements were present, we would have avoided this movie, no matter how well-made it was. Although I specified that the primary audience be only adults, I really wouldn’t recommend it for a Christian of any age.

Viewer Comments
I would not recommend this movie to Christians of any age. It was a terrible waste of time and money. This a movie definitely NOT worth seeing. I was very disappointed due to the cast of fine actors and director, Ron Howard, to have produced a movie of such little substance.
—Karen Flinn, age 42
There is no new subject matter in this movie that others like The Truman Show didn’t already resemble, although in a more wholesome way. This movie appeals to the lowest common denominator of American society depicting humans as merely sexual animals. I’m glad I walked out.
—Laurice Repke, age 28
The idea of a movie depicting the filming of someone’s everyday life has been done before—even before the Truman Show. The one that comes to mind right away is “Real Life” (written and directed, I think) by Albert Brooks. And then there are those little “slices of life” called “The Real World” on MTV. It’s pretty sad, but probably true that society finds a “normal” life to be boring. It’s only stimulated by scandal. We know that by watching the news of our government…
—Meggan Conway, age 39