Reality Bites | Chicago Reader

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When this movie was released in 1994, the novelty of seeing a romantic comedy written and directed by, as well as starring, people in their early 20s made for a certain freshness, but after a point this “youthfulness” consists of little more than TV references—including plenty of imitation MTV, complete with lousy music. Set in Houston and written by Helen Childress, the story mainly concerns an ambitious video artist (Winona Ryder), fresh out of college, who works at a local TV station and is wooed, after a fashion, by a slick TV executive (Ben Stiller, who also directs) and a less demonstrative rock musician (Ethan Hawke); if you care whom she winds up with or why, you probably caught more of the TV references than I did. With Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn, Swoosie Kurtz, Joe Don Baker, and John Mahoney. 99 min.

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