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TV REVIEW : MTV Movie Awards Get Trophy for Fun


In a year that brought us the Blockbuster Awards, among other new statuettes on the block, it's hard to begrudge much about the fourth annual MTV Movie Awards, a show that at least recognizes and celebrates the fact that it has no real reason for being.

It's gleefully self-conscious enough about being a no-brainer to actually have a segment in which veteran character actor William Hickey, apropos of nothing, comes out and gives a withering speech about how the movies nowadays just suck.

Not many other awards shows would introduce Val Kilmer as the man "who played the role of Mammy in the stage production of 'Gone With the Wind.' "

The acceptance speeches also tend toward the livelier side, what with Jim Carrey landing twice at the podium: "I'd like to thank MTV for recognizing copulation as an art form," says Carrey, accepting the Best Kiss trophy with flame Lauren Holly for their horrifyingly wide-open lip-lock in "Dumb and Dumber."


It gets cheekier and cheekier. As in past years, there are gems among the pre-taped sequences (though nothing as priceless as the sight of the "Brady Bunch" cast re-enacting scenes from "Malcolm X" two years back).

This time there's a whole battery of '60s-'70s stars enlisted for mini-remakes of MTV's Best Movie nominees, like Shirley Jones driving the Partridge Family bus in an homage to "Speed," Adam West affecting Brad Pitt's vampiric ennui and a profane (and properly bleeped) Sweat Hogs re-enactment of "Pulp Fiction's" driving sequences.

Not easy to tell whether everyone's in on the joke. "Blowing up planes and cars and buses is the best," says "Speed" director Jan DeBont, looking a little too earnest for comfort as he picks up his Best Action Sequence award, "and then if you get an award for it, that makes you really feel good."

Speaking of "SCTV" (the "it blowed up real good" part, that is), among the musical performers is Blues Traveler, whose singer John Popper is gussied up to look remarkably like the Fishin' Musician. TLC fares best, though there's no resisting the Ramones' three-minute medley of Best Song nominees (Joey does Elton!?).

The two awards not voted upon via 900 number are incongruous class acts: a lifetime achievement award for Jackie Chan--presented by Quentin Tarantino, natch--and a new filmmaker trophy for Steve James and "Hoop Dreams."

Jon Lovitz and Courteney Cox co-host, musical number and all. Their shtick relies too heavily on creaky Oscar-era gags about Lovitz being un-nominated, but then again, Carson and Hope never signed off by saying, "As you know, Courteney, I am a Jew, so I am going straight back to my vault where I control the media." If he did, more awards shows might be as painless as this one.

* "The MTV Movie Awards" airs tonight at 9 on MTV.

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