[box cover]

Pleasantville

Twin teens David and Jennifer are miraculously zapped into the television universe of the Ozzie-and-Harriet-like 1950s sit-com Pleasantville, and the injection of modern ideas effects some major changes into the previously sterile environment. High-concept comedy from writer-director Gary Ross (who scored with the similar fantasies Big and Dave) shows technical mastery in its gradual colorization of this black-and-white world, but falls unpleasantly short when the humor gives way to Ross' obvious, bullying ideological ejaculate. He's desperately eager to poke holes in the mythology of perfection as-seen-on-TV, but the "real" world he presents as a remedy is just as nearsighted and sugar-coated of a vision. The great cast — Reese Witherspoon, Tobey Maguire, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, J.T. Walsh — can't survive their director's libertine paranoia. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and both 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby. Lots of extras, all better than the movie, including an audio commentary with Ross, an isolated audio track (in Dolby 2.0) with the musical score and commentary by composer Randy Newman, a great behind-the-scenes featurette "The Art of Pleasantville," the music video of Fiona Apple's butchery of the Beatles' "Across the Universe" directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights), a storyboard gallery, and color television set-up advice.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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