MTV Movie Awards Maintain Comic Vibe

By | June 1, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Irreverent and bordering on insolent, the MTV Movie Awards have built a following over the past decade by mocking Hollywood as much as celebrating it.

Best Villain? Best Kiss? Best Fight? Lifetime achievement awards for Chewbacca from “Star Wars,” and for cameo character actor Clint Howard, the squinty-eyed little brother of director Ron Howard?

Such are the honors bestowed at the MTV Movie Awards, which in its 11th year comes not to praise cinema but to parody it. This year’s ceremony takes place Saturday and will be broadcast Thursday (June 6).

“We’re always looking to make people laugh. That’s more important to the show than the movies,” said Joel Gallen, who has produced the show 10 times. “There are, what – 3,700 award shows? We’re the only ones who really go tongue-in-cheek and don’t take it at all seriously.”

This year’s hosts are Sara Michelle Gellar of TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Jack Black, the razor-tongued comic from “Shallow Hal” and from the folk-metal duo Tenacious D.

The pressure is on them to top the outrageousness of previous years.

The ceremony promises more satires like 2000’s “Sex and the Matrix,” which starred Sarah Jessica Parker as her “Sex and the City” character cruising for a man in the sci-fi dystopia of “The Matrix.” Parker, a host that year, appeared onstage dressed only in a bath towel.

Last year, Jimmy Fallon and Kirsten Dunst closed the show by excitedly announcing their engagement. A ruse, of course.

The MTV trophy is, fittingly, a gilded popcorn bucket: Most nominees are recognized for popular appeal, not critical merits.

Occasionally, the honors do overlap with those at more sober ceremonies, such as last year’s best-picture win for “Gladiator” from both MTV and the Academy Awards. But MTV takes pride in its more dubious winners, such as the 1997 best-movie “Scream.”

The MTV Movie Awards don’t recognize directing, cinematography or even supporting performance. Instead, there are prizes such as “best breakthrough performance,” which favors winners in the youthful demographic of the network’s viewers.

But the winners barely matter anyway: The show’s rowdy hijinks always upstage them.

After claiming his second award of the evening in 1997, Jim Carrey took the stage and soul-kissed presenter Alicia Silverstone, dipping her backward while the audience hooted.

Comedian Will Ferrell jumped to the podium last year dressed as a whistle-wearing “speech coach” during Ben Stiller’s acceptance of the best comedy performance award for “Meet the Parents.” Ferrell ended the skit by becoming so agitated he pretended to wet his pants.

“It’s all supposed to be fun,” Gallen said. “We also like to have a bit of a musical theme to act as a thread throughout the show.”

Rage-rapper Eminem, who makes his acting debut in the upcoming drama “8 Mile,” plans to perform during the ceremony. And Kelly Osbourne, the pink-haired, 17-year-old daughter of rocker Ozzy Osbourne – whose family “reality” show is MTV’s biggest hit ever – is to sing a rendition of Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach.”

There won’t be any lifetime achievement award, however. The honor has been retired.

“After Clint Howard, where do you go?” Gallen joked.

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