Pleasantville (1998)

PLEASANTVILLE is Dullsville.  Screenwriter Gary Ross' (BIG, DAVE) 
directing debut has a dandy premise-- a pair of contemporary teens 
(Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) are zapped into the fiction-
al universe of a 1950's sitcom.  And as they interact with (and 
thus affect the lives of) the squeaky clean characters, colors 
begin to blossom in their black-and-white world.  (Think BACK TO 
THE FUTURE meets THE TRUMAN SHOW, as touched up by Ted Turner.)  
The color effects are cool, there's allegory out the wazoo, and 
the cast is as handsome as one could want.  (Joan Allen, William 
H. Macy, Jeff Daniels, and the late, great J.T. Walsh all appear.)  
Too bad it's so doggoned dull.  For all the neat ideas and neat 
stuff before the camera, there just ain't enough snap to the whole 
thing.  Four, maybe five scenes worth.  (You know you're in troub-
le when even a creepy Don Knotts barely registers.)  Some folks 
are raving, but I challenge anyone to find a more boring film this 
year.  Or one with a single scene as... strange as Allen's happy 
homemaker discovering her sexuality by masturbating in a bathtub.  
Did Donna Reed do that??  (Rated "PG-13"/116 min.) 

Grade: C

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: To Keep Away From

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