Whoa, dude, get to know the real Keanu

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

"Biography" (7 p.m., A&E) milks the mania over "The Matrix Reloaded" with a one-hour profile of actor Keanu Reeves. Apparently there is more to the handsome, press-phobic actor than eye-candy. But it's hard to tell from this glowing profile.

"Biography" glances back at Reeves' early work, most notably "River's Edge," a dark 1986 tale of teenage misfits who try to cover up a murder committed by one of their own. Made on a modest budget, the film stood out from the normal teen fare, and showcased Reeves, Crispin Glover and Ione Skye. Reeves' reputation as a serious actor was derailed three years later when the long-shelved comedy "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" became a cult hit. This profile argues that too many fans and critics unfairly associate Reeves with his airhead character from that film. His co-star Alex Winter appears frequently throughout the hour to praise Reeves for his dedication and work ethic.

Reeves' average-dude persona and speaking voice are what make him work so well in films like "Speed" and "Point Break." But they're also why he seems so out of place in period films like "Bram Stoker's Dracula." Not a critical word is spoken here, which is unfair both to the actor and his fans. Clips of Reeves performing with his band, Dogstar, are also featured.

Tonight's other highlights

Late night

Ashton Kutcher, Jack Hanna and Alex Bell appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Dr. Phil McGraw, actor Shia LaBeouf and music by India.Aire on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Dave Chapelle, Wilmer Valderrama and Jason Mraz are booked on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Matt Dillon, Randy Jackson and The Doors appear on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).