Philip (Steve Martin) runs a lifeline out of a decrepit building which is due to be replaced by condos any time, but he doesn’t have the heart to tell his staff Mrs. Munchnik (Madeline Kahn) or Catherine (Rita Wilson). Meanwhile, Catherine has befriended Gracie (Juliette Lewis), a local pregnant girl whose partner Felix (Anthony LaPaglia) is an ex-con who has no job and keeps getting hurt and treated by local vet Dr. Kinsky (Rob Reiner). Then there is Louie (Adam Sandler playing his somewhat mentally lacking character by doing a stupid voice) and Chris (Liev Schreiber) a transvestite who needs to get away from his appalling family.
Perhaps in the nineties it was more okay to make fun of mental illness. I don’t recall. What I know is that this film is somewhat of a strange mix of good and bad representations – Philip and several other characters balk when they see a man in a dress, but it doesn’t take them too long to accept him – so bad then good… There are some things that kind of work in this film, but overall it is just a massive mess that, if it worked in 1994, it doesn’t hold up now.
Ed (Matthew McConaughey) is a normal guy; in his thirties, working in a video shop, hanging out with his family, especially his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson) and his girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman). Then a television station has a competition to find a face for their new reality television show, and suddenly, they are all on tv, 24-hours-per-day. It’s exciting until it starts to cause some real problems for them all.
Sometimes in culture, zeitgeist throws up things that are similar yet still different. In the late nineties, it was reality TV, with this coming up only a year after The Truman Show. Yes, there are similarities, and in their own way, both of these films work. EDtv is fun. Fun characters, tough decisions, great gags. I felt the need to watch this after recently watching the disturbing and difficult True Detective series, and really wanted to see Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson having fun. It’s not rocket science, but it is ace fun. And Jenna Elfman? Come back. I miss you.