Sunday 04 April 1999
Unfairly overlooked at the Oscars, Peter Weir's millennial daydream was one of the most mesmerising Hollywood movies in years. Meticulously thought-out and slyly provocative, it's a media satire that assumes the form of an egomaniac's ultimate paranoid fantasy - Big Brother is watching, and this time he's been joined by a worldwide television audience. In what was widely billed as his first dramatic role (ie, less mugging than usual), Jim Carrey plays an insurance salesman named Truman Burbank who lives with his maniacally cheerful wife (Laura Linney) in a picture-perfect town called Seahaven. But all is not what it seems: since birth, Truman has been the unwitting star of his own 24-hour TV show, the creation of a megalomaniac producer-director (Ed Harris). Hidden cameras are trained on Truman at all times; his wife, colleagues, and friends are actors; Seahaven is a giant domed set. Full credit to writer Andrew Niccol for pushing his outlandish premise well beyond cautionary TV-bashing. Not surprisingly, the film loses a good deal of its metaphysical impact on subsequent viewings, but its themes and subtexts continue to resonate - this is truly a movie of its age.
There's Something About Mary (15). Any film that opens with a shot of Jonathan Richman, the deadpan-romantic singer-songwriter, strumming his guitar in a tree is worth your while. Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the brothers responsible for the proudly sub- moronic Dumb and Dumber and the deranged Amish bowling farce Kingpin, try their hand at romantic comedy (well, actually, a romantic comedy about stalking), and the results are surprisingly winning. True, there are slack patches (and, invariably, some gags fall flat), but this film contains some of the funniest setpieces ever seen in a Hollywood movie. Vicious, vulgar, and, in its own way, irresistibly sweet, the film gets by on the Farrellys' almost surreally staunch commitment to low-brow humour, and the strength of the very game actors. As the dorky hero, Ben Stiller displays his usual infallible timing, and as the absurdly idealised high-school crush with whom he's still obsessed, Cameron Diaz remains improbably radiant, even in the face of unspeakable indignities.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food