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Is It Golden or Just Plain Goofy?

June 06, 2002|SCOTT SANDELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

More awards, less show: At the Oscars, that's a common plea heard when, at the three-hour mark, as everyone awaits the major winners, we must first endure a 20-minute interpretive dance homage to the oeuvre of Krzysztof Kieslowski.

At the MTV Movie Awards, it's easy to wish for the opposite. After all, how many people are white-knuckling over who will be named best villain or best on-screen team? (And if you cared, you would've seen the results in the media earlier this week.) What matters is the showmanship.

The first 12 minutes of the 10th annual celebration-cum-spoof, taped Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium, relentlessly hyped by MTV and airing tonight at 9, brilliantly display such style. Hosts Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar hit the perfect comedic tone in a "Spider-Man" parody and in an opening musical number that would have done Busby Berkeley perversely proud.

Then they had to ruin it by handing out the awards, voted on by MTV viewers. The honors and acceptance speeches are largely irrelevant; what's more important, judging from the hooting and hollering, is the chance to ogle the stars vying for the golden popcorn buckets.

Although two more movie parodies, energetic performances by the White Stripes and Eminem as well as the dubious singing debut of Ozzy Osbourne's daughter Kelly buoy the "Moulin Rouge"-themed show, they can't save it from sinking into the morass of self-congratulation that these two hours intend to ridicule.

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