||In his good-humored, deceptively easygoing satire EdTV, Ron Howard holds up a fun-house mirror to a world ruled by voyeurism and specious fame. It's a world where a simple "He's cute!" can lead to overnight stardom and where a book can be written by someone who has never read one. It's a world where tabloids and television truly snoop to conquer, and where the distinction between nobody's business and everybody's business is unclear. And it's all too well-trod territory. Howard can't really say much about it that's new. But what he can do, and does here so amusingly and fondly, is bring the effects of such cultural topsy-turviness right home, not just to this film's hilariously embattled characters but to the viewer as well. In a film that begins almost nonchalantly, Howard soon lures his audience into a morass of peeping-Tom opportunism and advertising hustle that's an awful lot like what you can see on the evening news. And because it would be easy to savage this state of affairs, EdTV does something more interesting: it makes palpable the way viewers are compromised by what they see. Whether within the film or merely while watching it, audiences are turned into becoming part of the process that transforms a good-looking nobody like Ed Pekurny (Matthew McConaughey) into our latest disposable toy. Having been sliced and diced by this same process in his own life, McConaughey understandably plays Ed with a vengeance, and with slyly raffish style. It also helps that most of the principals (in a cast including Ellen DeGeneres, Elizabeth Hurley, Rob Reiner and Woody Harrelson) and the director himself have been here and done this in some fashion. A funny ensemble cast clearly savors the absurdity of what unfolds here in an affectionate, rambling comedy whose ideas about deranged media needn't really brook comparison with The Truman Show. EdTV doesn't aspire to such a cool, conceptual overview. With down-to-earth comic instincts, it simply invests its story with a loud ring of truth.