Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
FIGHTING WIRE WITH WIRE
LAST FALL, WHEN CABLE COMPANY executives started getting wind of Jim Carrey's forthcoming The Cable Guy, their antennae quivered with anxiety. Cable producer Andy Licht recalls his office receiving several fretful calls from cable lobbyists. 'They were concerned that it was going to be Ace Ventura III," he says, "just totally poking fun." Cruel fun, at that. In the comedy, opening this Friday (June 14), Carrey plays a cable installer who turns up four hours late for an appointment at the home of Matthew Broderick, then goes berserk and harasses him as only Carrey can. But folks in the cable industry have since discovered "spin," and now all is sunny Frank Capra cheer. They can't stop the film. So now the movie is "entertainment," says Torie Clarke, public-affairs vice president for the National Cable Television Association in Washington. "And that's what we do. It's a great opportunity to tell the public what a good job we've been doing."
To that end, the NCTA has sent 4,000 cable systems a Cable Guy campaign kit that includes order forms for buttons ("I'm the REAL Cable Guy. Ask me why") and a list of "Top 10 Answers to What Do You Think About The Cable Guy?" (No. 5: "The airline industry survived Leslie Nielsen; the telephone industry survived Lily Tomlin; we'll survive Jim Carrey.") In Gloucester, Va., employees of Gloucester Cablevision will collect tickets at the movie's opening night at a local theater. In St. Paul, Continental Cablevision hosted an Ultimate Cable Guy contest for its workers with such events as cable burying and service-van parking.
Cable Guy producer Licht favored one snazzy gimmick: Make June 14 Cable Amnesty Day. As Licht explains, "Anyone who had illegal cable could turn themselves in without any penalty." Nice try, but it didn't make the NCTA's packet.
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