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Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series)
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Product Description

Life imitates art when two modern-day teenagers get sucked into the too-perfect black-and-white world of a 1950s sitcom. Trapped and trying to find a way home the two find themselves bringing color to the lives of pleasantvilles rigid naive townspeople. Studio: New Line Home Video Release Date: 12/11/2007 Starring: Tobey Maguire Joan Allen Run time: 124 minutes Rating: Pg13

Fantastical writer Gary Ross (Big, Dave) makes an auspicious directorial debut with this inspired and oddly touching comedy about two '90s kids (Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) thrust into the black-and-white TV world of Pleasantville, a Leave It to Beaver-style sitcom complete with picket fences, corner malt shop, and warm chocolate chip cookies. When a somewhat unusual remote control (provided by repairman Don Knotts) transports them from the jaded real world to G-rated TV land, Maguire and Witherspoon are forced to play along as Bud and Mary Sue, the obedient children of George and Betty Parker (William H. Macy and Joan Allen). Maguire, an obsessive Pleasantville devotee, understands the need for not toppling the natural balance of things; Witherspoon, on the other hand, starts shaking the town up, most notably when she takes basketball stud Skip (Paul Walker) up to Lover's Lane for some modern-day fun and games. Soon enough, Pleasantville's teens are discovering sex along with--gasp!--rock & roll, free thinking, and soul-changing Technicolor. Filled with delightful and shrewd details about sitcom life (no toilets, no double beds, only two streets in the town), Pleasantville is a joy to watch, not only for its comedy but for the groundbreaking visual effects and astonishing production design as the town gradually transforms from crisp black and white to glorious color. Ross does tip his hand a bit about halfway through the film, obscuring the movie's basic message of the unpredictability of life with overloaded and obvious symbolism, as the black-and-white denizens of the town gang up on the "coloreds" and impose rules of conduct to keep their strait-laced town laced up. Still, the characterizations from the phenomenal cast--especially repressed housewife Allen and soda-shop owner Jeff Daniels, doing some of their best work ever--will keep you emotionally invested in the film's outcome, and waiting to see Pleasantville in all its final Technicolor glory. --Mark Englehart

Customer Reviews:

  • A trip down nostalgia lane...
    1998's Pleasantville is a charmingly executed parable about introducing change to a closed society, and the ripple effect that even the smallest changes can produce. Siblings David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) are polar opposites; nerdy David is obsessed with the ficticious 1950s sitcom Pleasantville (an homage to Leave It To Beaver and other picture-perfect small-screen families), while Jennifer hangs out with the fast crowd, smoking and snaring potential dates.

    After a mysterious TV repairman (Don Knotts) gives the two a remote, they're transported into the black-and-white, picture-perfect town of Pleasantville, where the basketball team makes perfect baskets every shot and a nutritious dinner is always on the table (thanks, mom!). Horrified, the two at first try to desperately find a way back. David has the advantage of being intimately familiar with the Pleasantville universe, and tries to steer Jennifer away from any seismic outbursts that would be out of place in placid Pleasantville, such as swearing, smoking, and heaven forbid, s-e-x. Jennifer has her own agenda, though, and Lovers Lane soon becomes more than just a place to stargaze and hold hands. With each change comes the slow but sure colorization: first bubblegum turns pink, then the more "adventurous" teens end up in color.

    David and Jennifer's "parents," George (William H. Macy) and Betty (Joan Allen) Parker, are stamped straight out of 1950s legend; George begins every evening by announcing "honey, I'm home!" and Betty's always on call to whip up massive breakfasts or hors d'oeuvres. David, now "Bud," works in the burger joint owned by Bill (Jeff Daniels), who's paralyzed by indecision and any break in routine. But a funny thing happens; the once-wild Jennifer slowly becomes more scholarly and more and more like her TV counterpart than her former "bad girl" self, while once-timid David learns to stand up for himself and to fight for what he believes in.

    In Pleasantville, the old guard is threatened by all of the changes: the once-empty books in the library are filled, Bill realizes his life's dream of becoming a painter, using every shade under the sun, rockabilly and rock and roll are heard...resulting in violence and trials that parallel McCarthyism. Betty and other wives begin to yearn for a fulfilling life outside of the home, leaving their husbands hungry and confused.

    Although the visual metaphors are heavy-handed at times, Pleasantville does an admirable job at capturing the balance between modern uncertainties (at school, the teens are given sobering statistics about AIDS, global warming, and underemployment) and our rose-tinted nostalgia for the past. The visual design deserves special mention, and the classic soundtrack is loaded with gems by Pat Boone, Miles Davis, Etta James, Elvis and Buddy Holly. Pleasantville was nominated for two dozen awards, and it's easy to see why. A delightful film for the entire family....more info
  • Wonderful movie
    Pleasantville is simply an intriguing and innovative movie. It really is a rarity to showcase a movie such as this. And what a novel concept. At first glance, I wasn't sure if I would be interested in modern film purposely filmed in black and white. I thought it would feel odd. But it didn't. It worked so well that I loved it immedietely. The characters are all great and interesting. The plot is also great and intriguing. And its also sweet and tender as well as being serious and comedic, all in the span of 2 hours. I can't get enough of this film, its one of those that I can watch over and over again and it seems new at every viewing. ...more info
    If you like light comedy with a silly plot, this is one to buy. If, like me, you remember the 1950s, then you will laugh-out-loud through this movie. Just seeing the set brings back fond memories. The silly gags about the safer, innocent, quieter, sheltered, family value days of yesteryear are an absolute joy. You know, like Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriett, and Lucy.

    Don Knotts, a TV repair man, is funny again, and brings back memories of his Mayberry run. The intentional switches from B&W to color, and back, and isolated color in B&W scenes, and the reversal is often funny in itself.

    Warning: If you are too young and can't look back on days when you looked silly compared to contemporary standards; then you may not enjoy this movie. Pleasant viewing for all to opt for "Pleasantville." And, golly gee, like cool man, the price is about equal to a rental cost. Groovy!...more info
  • Midniyt
    I love this movie. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are great! The movie has many hidden meanings or reaches ppl on differnt levels, however you like to take it. Either way, it is definately worth watching at least once, and i on the other hand, had to own it. Great movie!...more info
  • Colorful erosion of innocence
    Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are completely convincing as siblings who are sucked into a 50's black and white sitcom. Nerdy Maguire is as pleased as the proverbial punch, while Witherspoon is dead set to get back home, or barring that, to drag the entire town into the 90's. As she leads them merrily away from their innocence, color erodes the complacent attitudes of them all, with some serious foot-dragging (headed by the always terrific J. T. Walsh). Joan Allen is dynamite as the kids' sexually awakening mom. Adroit social commentary never sacrifices the comedy. Truly delightful, and leaves you much to think about....more info
  • Colors that wake up the soul
    After a romantic "impasse" with her fianc¨¦e in the seat of the car near the lake, Skip returns to his house and notices in the garden a red rose that moves with the wind. What makes so unusual this simple and common event is that the rose is the only sparkle of color within the monochrome world of Pleasantville.

    In his directorial debut, Gary Ross (Dave, Big) continues using his style of telling creative fables, this time about a brother and a sister who gets themselves trapped on a television program from the 50's.

    David and Jennifer are transported to a perfect town with pleasant climate and where the greatest challenge for firemen is to lower cats from trees. From a color-world to another one in black-and-white, where they meet their new parents and friends, who refer to them as Bud and Mary Sue.

    Soon both kids realize that the lack of color is not the only difference that has Pleasantville. This is a perfect world, without sex or violence, a place where basketball players always win, the parents sleep in separated beds, fire or rain never happens and the thermometer always marks 23 degrees.

    But as David and Jennifer discover, this much "perfection" also bring little imagination, no adventures or challenges.

    Together, David and Jennifer are in charge to spread rebellion and to give a little color to the town. Little time happens without some citizens of Pleasantville finding these changes attractive and embracing them with passion. Lips become red, cheeks pink, sex becomes the great sensation.

    But for others, the color becomes a threat. The monochrome ones begin to distrust of those who see the colors. Thus, prejudice and discrimination become a part of Pleasantville.

    This it a film that plays with our understanding of the rules of television show, where old sayings like "old times were better" and "paradisiacal life" are true. Also, the movie works as a metaphor about those choosing to live sunk in a safe but bleak conformity or those who enjoy the divine, full pleasures of risk that come with the free will.

    Here lies the true birth of feelings and emotions. More than external changes, what happens in Pleasantville is that the souls of their citizens leave lethargy and they are taken by the passion, opening new ways and opportunities, even if this entails to know the ugly or sad side of life. Putting it simple, they just want to be human beings....more info
  • A life-changing movie!
    I remember watching the commercials for "Pleasantville" when it first came out in theaters, and thinking it might be good, but that it looked kind of gimmicky. I don't usually like movies where the special effects take over the whole story. But, when a very dear friend of mine recommended "Pleasantville" to me, I decided to rent it. I was totally blown away!!!! I understood the need to make the town of Pleasantville black and white and why the people and surroundings turned into color. The aspect of kids changing into color after having sex didn't really bother me (even though I am very conservative when it comes to my views on premarital sex) because I feel the writer used sex as a metaphor for experiencing life. I really dug it when the main characters (David/Bud and Jennifer/Mary Sue) did not change color when they had sex. For them, the change had to be about something even more profound. All of the actors did a spectacular job, but since I am a big Tobey Maguire fan, I felt his performance stood out. William H. Macy was also excellent as the dad. In short, "Pleasantville" was a life-changing movie that reinforced my belief in being true to yourself, the importance of individuality, and the truth that not all of life's experiences are black and white (forgive me for using an idiom that has been overused in regards to this movie!)....more info
  • Terrible!
    This movie is pure propaganda and was very twisted to get a very obvious liberal point of view out. ...more info
  • must see
    I like the part when the black and white turns into colour ,
    I also like the words what are used.

    I like the way the person who plays Bud tackles racist behaviour.

    C.D.T BAILEY ...more info
  • A Wonderful Film
    This is one of my all time favorite films. I think anyone that enjoys Art will find something to appreciate in watching this. This is one of my favorite DVD's -- now bring on the Blu-ray release! This film deserves it. ...more info
  • The Color of You
    This is a delightful movie that shows bigotry in a different light. During a movie marathon of Pleasantville, siblings are transported to this mythical town where everything is black and white, and a burning tree and the firemen have no clue as to how to put the fire out. But as the siblings eject a little bit of themselves into this pure storyline, color eases in to cause a panic and a division among the citizens of this small town. Very well down and enjoyable....more info
  • Spring time in Pleasantville
    This movie was written, produced, and directed by Gary Ross, who also produced another successful movie, Seabiscuit (2003). Pleasantville is a comedy drama in which two teenagers; David Wagner (Tobey Maguire) and his twin sister Jennifer Wagner (Reese Witherspoon) physically move-back in time to 1950s into a town called the Pleasantville, which is actually a setting for a 1950s television show (shown in black and white).

    David Wagner and his sister Jennifer are two different individuals. Jennifer is concerned mainly with relationships and popularity, while David spends most of his spare time on the couch, watching television. While their mother (Jane Kaczmarek) is on vacation with her boyfriend, Jennifer and David fight for the control of TV, then a mysterious TV repairman (Don Knotts) shows up uninvited, and quizzes David on Pleasantville before giving him a strange-looking remote control which transports them back in time into Pleasantville in the Parkers' living room. They acquire the roles of two teenagers in the family of George (William H. Macy) and Betty Parker (Joan Allen) who have two children of same age; Bud and Mary Sue Parker. The setting says it all; the town is conservative, women stayed at home, took care of home and children, and men went to work. Typically teenage dating is limited to going to a movie and eating at local burger joint. Holding hands is perhaps the most romantic and sexual behavior practiced at that time. Jennifer gets bored with life and introduces her boyfriend Skip (Paul Walker) into a fast lane promoting sexual promiscuity. Soon the entire town comes to know that all teenagers of town are hanging out at Lover's Lane. The town start to change; large size beds become available in stores, colored paints show up on walls, and the women start to gossip. People in Pleasantville begin to explore hidden abilities and revel in their new freedoms. Mr. Johnson (Jeff Daniels), the owner of local burger joint, and the boss of Bud Parker begins to paint, and Betty Parker always had a "soft corner" for Johnson. She finds out about the "happenings" in town by having a conversation with her daughter Mary Sue. The conversation is intimate and personal;

    Betty Parker: Mary Sue?
    Jennifer: Yeah?
    Betty Parker What goes on up at Lover's Lane?
    Jennifer: What do you mean?
    Betty Parker: Well, you hear these things lately... kids spending so much time up there. Uh, is it holding hands? That kind of thing
    Jennifer: Yeah! That and...
    Betty Parker: What?
    Jennifer: It doesn't matter.
    Betty Parker: No, I wanna know.
    Jennifer: Well, sex.
    Betty Parker: Oh. What's sex?
    [After Mary Sue explains to Betty about sex]
    Jennifer: Are you okay?
    Betty Parker: Um, yes. It's, uh, just that your father would never do anything like that.
    Jennifer: Ahhhh.
    Betty Parker: Mmm.
    Jennifer Well, you know, Mom, there are other ways to enjoy yourself... without Dad.

    Betty Parker peruses her inner side, to be romantic and to be herself soon revolts against the daily chores and leaves her husband and start having an affair with Johnson, and his nude painting of Betty Parker posted on the wall of his diner makes the town real angry. Mayor Big Bob and the men of town are disgusted at the decay of moral values declare the "Pleasantville Code of Conduct", a list of rules preventing people from playing loud music, or using paint colors other than black, white or gray. Eventually Bud Parker makes his father and the mayor, understand that they have hidden feelings they must pursue that and live "freely." Betty and George make up and Bud goes back into the future, his original home. Some of the critical dialogues (conversations) are cleverly written. In one conversation in which George persuades Betty to change to old traditional ways, the conversation is as follows:

    Betty Parker [Betty is in color (signifies liberated woman), George is still black & white (signifies conservative)]: George, look at me. Look at my face. That meeting is not for me.
    George Parker: You'll put on some make-up.
    Betty Parker: I don't want to put on make-up.
    George Parker: It'll go away. It goes away.
    Betty Parker: [firmly] I don't want it to go away (meaning she doesn't want to change her liberated look and she wants to keep it).

    The movie ends with a shot of Betty and George reunited (sitting side by side); however, when Betty turns to look at her husband she sees Johnson, a some what bold move on the part of writers and the director. In spite if making up with her husband she expresses her true feelings for Johnson with whom she is clearly in love. This is an excellent movie; at times it gets very sensual, but tackles some old values in a gentle and sometimes clever conversation. This film is highly recommended.

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    6. Legally Blonde / Legally Blonde 2 - Red, White and Blonde
    7. Legally Blonde (Special Edition)...more info
  • A Keeper
    They say the best movies have human themes to them, and for the most part this is true. For example, Crash has the theme of rasicm. Well, pleasantville is one of those movies that just somehow gets skipped and it's filled with more emotionally powerful stuff than a dvd can truely hold. The main theme to this movie is racism again, using words like coloreds couldn't have made it more clear that this was a fight against racism, but within that theme there are several other themes. Another theme would be ignorance is bliss, for the town only becomes upset when the people begin learning. Adultry becomes a theme, though is harder than the others to see is still a theme in the movie, and with adultry comes duty to the family. All and all, I've watched this movie too many times to count and I still keep finding more and more themes (I just remembered another, cherrish art).

    If your not the type fo person who is into all that stuff where there are hidden messages, then this movie may not hold a lot to you, but overall it has a simple story that pushes everything into it. The only thing I was disappointed in (DON'T READ THIS IF YOU WOULD RATHER SEE THE MOVIE FIRST) was that the movie didn't come full circle. Although the movie makes a great attempt, they just don't get the main character back his beginning at the school.

    Well, this movie is considered one of my top movies, one of the several that not only do I own on DVD but would rather have buried with me than passed on. If I were you, I would first get as rediculously simplistically smart as me (wow, that's pretty ironic) and then get this movie!...more info
  • DVD
    Amazon is always fast and reliable. Have used them in the past and will continue to use them in the future....more info
  • Superb film
    Words pretty much fail me in describing this exquisite film: its beauty and sensitivity; its superb cinematography and direction; its perfect cast and their virtually perfect performances; and its INTELLIGENCE. Keep your hankie nearby....more info
    PLEASANTVILLE is a remarkably filmed and superbly performed slice of Americana. Director Gary Ross uses black and white and color in a unique fashion, as we watch the black and white world of Pleasantville erupt into gorgeous pastels and bright colors to signify its entrance into the real world. If there's a problem with PLEASANTVILLE, it might be that instead of being a homage to those LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, FATHER KNOWS BEST days, it actually exposes its fake sentimentality and improbable wholesomeness, and suggests that the real color world is more desirable. I don't see any harm in having those black and white comedies that made family life so pure and romance something that was more of a mystery than an experience. It seems Ross and his screenwriters wanted to deflate those halcyon days of the fifties and sixties, and make us realize that even though our world is fraught with ugliness, it's better to be in color than black and white? Anyway, the cast is marvelous: a pre-Spiderman Toby Maguire exudes a wonderful naivete and wisdom; a pre-Legally Blonde Reese Witherspoon transmits a naughty and seductive undertone as the worldly sister; Joan Allen and William H. Macy are perfect as the parents; Jeff Daniels does well as the soda jerk and Don Knotts is good as the instigator of the whole Pleasantville transformation. It's a delightful film but it still makes me question the need to deflate such an integral part of our societal background. Enjoy, though....more info
  • fun flick
    Fun movie to watch; good soundtrack and great use of color. Lovely cinematography. ...more info
  • The Creator of Pleasantville is a GENIUS.
    This is my favorite movie of all time. I have probably seen it about 15 times and every time, without fail, I discover new symbolism in the movie. So many themes overlap, as they do in life. This movie is absolutely amazing. If I could sum up my interpretation of this in only a few words I would say, the spiritual evolution of mankind.
    ...more info
  • A brief comment
    I thought the basic concept of this movie was brilliant--the dull, monochrome town's gradual and unwilling conversion to full color serving as a metaphor for the often painful vicissitudes and realities that change can bring. But for the town's residents, those changes also offer a fuller and more adult appreciation of life--such as the discovery of sex.

    The people of Pleasantville, previously trapped in their dull, boring, limited, Leave it to Beaver lives, are at first bewildered, and then aghast, at the insidious plague of color that is creeping into their predictable little monchrome universe. A few residents aren't afraid, and are more curious, such as Toby's mother and the soda shop owner, but most regard the new changes with a growing sense of dread, as they watch their previously cozy little world start to fall apart.

    In the end, of course, their efforts are unable to stem the inexorable tide of color change and Pleasantville is finally reborn in the light of a new day in bilious, full color. The townspeople's wonder and amazement at their glorious new polychrome universe is palpable, and the movie ends on a happy note.

    After the movie, I had an odd recollection. The rebirth in full color recalled childhood memories of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color show from the early 60s, the first all-color syndicated TV series, if I remember right, which came out when I was about 12. I found myself wondering what Disney would have thought of this movie, because he was the first person to bring the full potential of color TV to the American public, and the show is about a monochrome TV world that experiences the same change. I found myself imagining the great cartoonist and animator sitting there musing, "This is just a movie about a fictional town, but in a sense, I actually did it in the real world." :-)

    As someone here said earlier, Pleasantville is one of the greatest underrated flicks ever. The way the people and the objects in the film were gradually colorized is a delight to watch, and overall, the film's idea is one of the most creative ones to emerge from Hollywood in recent years....more info
  • A Disgusting Anti-Family, Anti-American Radical Leftist Propaganda Film
    I'm not sure who wrote, directed, or produced "Pleasantville" but clearly there is a radical leftist agenda underlying this movie. Whoever is behind this film is using it to shatter the nostalgic view that most Americans have about the 1950's: traditional family, religion, celibacy, self-restraint, moral order, etc. while at the same time, promoting immorality as "cool" and "good".
    At work in this film is something called "Cultural Marxism", the process of tearing down traditional moral Western society (towards preparing for an eventual Marxist state). One element of Cultural Marxism is to create disorder and even chaos by promoting liberal lifestyles which are known to be destructive (we see such promotion in this film). The idea is to "normalize" deviant behavior, yet knowing full well the eventual outcome will be misery for all. Marxists rationalize such destruction with, "the end will justify the means", ie. "first we have to destroy the 'oppressive' United States before we can build our dream utopia". Back when I was in college (early 60's) I knew several students and professors who preached this type of thinking. They were shockingly open about it, saying things like, "we'll make films and TV shows which will gradually condition Americans into accepting ever more deviant and destructive lifestyles, and in 50 years, this nation will rot from it's own decadence". In that time (early 1960's) things were still very innocent in America and I ignored what they said as words of crazy radicals. But one thing was clear, they hated this country with a passion, and they were determined to destroy it.
    The message of the film is, "moral standards are bad" and "as long as it feels good, it is good". Very sick, twisted thinking. Quite evil actually. I will find out who made this film and investigate their other work and background....more info
  • pleasantville
    podrian conseguirla con subtitulos en espa?ol? do you have this title whith spanish subtitles?...more info
  • Pleasantville
    The copy which I received of Pleasantville does not play properly, it won't work on my PS2 for some reason and it only works on my computer randomly and my computer is brand new. So I'd suggest buyers to be a little cautious when purchasing this movie....more info
  • Loved it
    I know it's kinda leftist and preachy, but I loved it and it touched something inside me. So I'm a bleeding-heart liberal...whatever. But the movie does make some great points about the stiff and unrealistic crap the 50's tried to paint everyone into. (80's kid here...but I've seen plenty of 50's TV and I know my history) I love the idea of this film and how...just as in the real color TV came to did a more open minded world. I've read some negative reviews and most just complain about the ideals this film portray...but's a free country for a reason folks. I do appreciate that most reviewers admit the acting and effects of this film are's just a great film all around IMO and I would recommend it to anyone...regardless of your political ideals. Try putting those aside while watching. Either way it will spark a reaction and that is what art is all about. ...more info
  • good family film
    Pleasantly complex
    The importance of one's lifestyle is relevant only to the beholder, but in this film many things are brought about.. Pleasantville's monotonous lifestyle was anything but arduous or complex. When David (Toby Maguire) and Jennifer (Reece Witherspoon) are accidently thrown into the TV world of Pleasantville, things start to change. The functioning utopia begins to disspate. Authority is questioned, materialism is emphasized, and the comforting phrase to so many, ''ignorence is bliss'', is suddenly a dream once more. Although David liked the utopia, Jennifer saw the potential of variety in the lives of the Pleasantville citizins. This is a great movie. Once someone can see past the simple things, a film can really shine as this one does.
    ...more info
  • fast arrival
    Watched this movie to supplement a literture read for high school kids they enjoyed watching it and the DVD was in great condition.
    ...more info
  • Filmic Metaphor: Seeing Ourselves In Our Movies
    Pleasantville is more than just a small-town piece of Americana trapped in a time warp that is fixated on the conservatively clean-cut 1950's, it is a small fictional town that finds itself struggling with social issues that are all too real and timeless for those who continue to struggle with their divisive influences. Racism, bigotry, artistic and intellectual censorship, conformity without question or debate, non-conformity with purpose and hope, and the struggle for individuality are all beautifully and sensitively illustrated though filmic metaphors and touching performances in this family film. Whether you are one who has always found comfort and security conforming to the assertive voices and visions of others or know the personal struggle of leaving comfort to secure and assert your own voice and vision in a world that doesn't always agree, this is a poignant film that is highly capable of striking a chord in the hearts of us all. ...more info
  • Better than you might expect...not as good as it could have been
    Technically, the film is great. I think we're all agreed upon that.Have to admit though that, when it first turned to black and white, I did feel like turning it off. Not because I don't like authentic black and white - but because I thought it was going to be the faux variety Well it was, but for a legitimate reason that becomes self-evident. I'm glad I stuck with it.

    It felt like the film had a lot to say but I don't think it did so articulately enough or effectively enough. It is sometimes confused. Example? Reece Witherspoon as the slutty sister who turns into a bookworm (like "Grease" in reverse) whilst, conversley, her "Mother" is liberated from the kitchen? What was that about? And Tobey Maguire's cookie-baking girlfriend? Just another damsel in distress role in the time honored tradition that remained unchallenged.

    Yes, the film has good intentions. It wants to say something worthwhile but somehow it fails - but at least it tries! And, it has to be said, it is a damn sight better than Jim Carey's "The Majestic" - a film set in its own Pleasantville without ever managing to either challenge or entertain....more info