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Reviewed September 6th, 1999 by Staff


The thought that probably jumps to the minds of most people when discussing Ed TV is its simi-larity to the Truman Show. Both films involve an everyman whose life is shown on live TV. That is where the similarities end. This comparison has left Ed TV at a disadvantage. While Ron Howard's film is not as complex as the Truman Show, it meets its goals as a movie, and is very funny.

Howard fills the screen with an extremely talented cast. Matthew McConaughy is Ed Pekurney, a likable guy who takes on this strange job of allowing his life to be captured for the country's entertainment. Woody Harrelson is hilarious as his brother Ray. Ellen Degeneress plays the cable TV executive who dreams up Ed TV. The cast is rounded out by Jenna Elfman, Sally Kirk-land, Martin Landeau and Rob Reiner.

Much of the humor in the film comes from the difficulty that being on live TV introduces to everyday life. Every secret is broadcast to millions: if you get caught in an embarrassing situation, everyone knows.

Ed TV is a satisfying comedy which goes out of its way to entertain.

The video image on this anamorphic, 1.85:1 transfer is quite good. The film mostly involves interiors, so the image doesn't draw much attention to itself. However, the shot of the San Francisco sunrise displays the quality of the transfer.

Like the image, the 5.1 sound mix is also of high quality, but has no opportunity to shine. Ed TV is a comedy which relies on dialogue, so there isn't much room for split surround effects. Luckily, there's a thunder storm (track 6), and some good background music mixing throughout the soundstage to help validate the viewer' s speaker investment. The Universal DVD ad at the beginning is a better sound demo than the film.

This collector's edition is filled with extras: There are two commentary tracks, a “making of” featurette, out-takes, deleted scenes, an ad for the soundtrack (thanks), a French language track and English captions for the hearing impaired. Ron Howard does a very interesting commentary track. It's interesting to hear a commentary track from one of Hollywood's leading directors. Howard is very generous with his praise for the contributions of the cast, and everyone else involved. Writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel do a funny commentary which further dis-cusses the film's purpose, and its evolution. The “making of” featurette seems like an ad for the film, while the outtakes are very funny. The deleted scenes might be useful to viewers who just couldn't get enough.


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