Review Date: March 18, 1999
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz
Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Your basic Johnny Lunchpail dude gets paid by a cable network channel to televise his entire life on TV as it happens live. He agrees and ultimately turns into a media sensation and major celebrity in the eyes of the millions of people that watch him daily. These changes affect every relationship in his life, including the most significant one with a woman who touches his heart, but not those of his fickle TV viewing audience.
Light, safe, enjoyable romantic comedy with a good premise, charming leads, offers just enough cute, cuddly and funny moments to satisfy the general population. Now despite clocking in at a heftier time than anticipated (2 hours+), I think this movie works particularly well because of the potent acting talents of its two main stars, Matthew McConaughey and Jenna Elfman. Admittedly, I was never a fan of Elfman before this film, but she gives a great, loveable performance that most everyone should enjoy. And yes, I even thought she looked adorable in that UPS outfit! McConaughey also punches up the film with his authentic performance of Joe America, with the ideal balance of charisma, humor and drama. The rest of the cast is also pretty solid in their roles, but I felt that the amplitude of characters left some to be underdeveloped. For example, the Woody Harrelson role started off strong, but ended pretty flat, while Rob Reiner's character seemed like a one-dimensional cookie-board cutout role generally used to satisfy the screenwriters' need for an audience-satisfying retribution finish, which didn't leave much to the imagination.
Having said that, this film had me chuckling and even laughing along for most of its run, with the title of Woody Harrelson's book in the film, generating my hardiest guffaw. There are also plenty of cameos sprinkled throughout this party which seemed to resonate an overall sense of easy and clean humor (The lack of uninhibited sex, violence and open vulgarity obviously well calculated.) The soundtrack seemed like a constant, with every other scene containing a new song, and the style, pretty straightforward. And even though I don't particularly recall one superior scene or even one hoppin' song from the movie, I can say that it was entertaining, and that it should pull in some decent numbers at the box-office. Go see it with your loved one. It's safe, it's fun, and nobody gets hurt. Hi Mom!
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian