Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Now that two movies have been made about a man living 24 hours a day on television, how long until TV actually tries this as a programming idea? "EDtv'' arrives less than a year after "The Truman Show,'' and although the two films have different approaches ("Truman'' is a parable, "EDtv'' is an ambitious sitcom), they're both convinced that enormous audiences would watch intently as a man brushes his teeth, clips his nails and is deceived by a wicked woman.
Is this true? Would they? Much would depend on the nature of the experiment, of course. "The Truman Show'' gathered its poignancy from the fact that its hero didn't know he was on TV. "EDtv'' is about a man who auditions for the job; as his brother points out, "How many chances do guys like us get?'' The two movies offer us a choice: Would you rather be a hidden voyeur, or watch an exhibitionist? I'd rather be a voyeur. The star of a TV show like this is likely to show me more about human nature if he doesn't know I'm watching. The kind of guy who would agree to having his whole life televised, however, is essentially just a long-form "Jerry Springer'' guest. Anyone who would agree to such a deal is a loser, painfully needy or nuts. And since the hero of Ron Howard's "EDtv'' isn't really any of those things, the film never quite feels convincing.
The film stars Matthew McConaughey as Ed Pekurny, a Texas charmer who is discovered during auditions by a desperate cable channel. He can talk "regular'' or he can talk Texan, he says, demonstrating accents as a TV producer (Ellen DeGeneres) watches, enraptured. Televising Ed's life is her idea; her boss (Rob Reiner) has his doubts at first, until she points out their current ratings are lower than the Gardening Channel ("People would rather watch soil'').
Ed is signed by the channel, which also gets releases from the people in his world, including his brother Ray (Woody Harrelson), Ray's girlfriend Shari (Jenna Elfman), his mother (Sally Kirkland) and his stepfather (Martin Landau). The first hours of the new show are slow-going (including the toenail-clipping demonstration) but things pick up after it's revealed that Ed and Shari are poised to start cheating on Ray ("I just kissed my boyfriend's brother on television!'').