Saturday, 6 March 2010

Crap Film Posters: Old Dogs, New Dogshit

Here at Manflet we like to deal with the important issues - like how ad campaigns not pitched at our demographic, aimed at promoting movies we will never see, really annoy us. Last time, Gadsby tore into the tagline for the bromantic (tragic)comedy I Love You, Man and right now I'm trying to come up with words to describe the poster for the Travolta/Williams vehicle (ouch) - also starring Scott Evil (argh) - soon to be released by Disney (noooooooooooo): Old Dogs.

This time it's not the poster's deeply unimaginative tagline (mercifully absent from the version I found online, available in full hi-res horror over here), it's the imagery itself.

Is there a design company somewhere that knocks out the posters for all mainstream comedies? Every one looks the same, no doubt built on a template that allows for quick turnaround and minimal creative input (if you don't believe me, take another look at I Love You, Man). There's the title, always in big red letters that emphasise it above the story and the stars - which was, after all, probably the first thing to come to the Hollywood execu-tits as they pitched their pants off. Then there's the composition that sacrifices real-world perspective (and often the actors' legs) to make sure that the faces of the "talent" get equal billing, even though they may be standing behind one another. And then there's the clinical white background that may simply be a cost-cutting device, but just so happens to create a stark artificial environment in which whatever you're airbrushing to fuck looks less, well, airbrushed to fuck. 

I mean, just look at Travolta's face.  You'll have to focus real hard to see it at all, because it's almost been Photoshopped out of existence; his visage on the (even worse) kid friendly poster (right) is so distorted it'll make you question conventional facial anatomy altogether. Still, no jowls.

What the shit is going on here? I mean apart from a facepalmingly obvious reversal of Travolta and William's roles as the straight man and the funny guy, what appears to be the hokiest fake-gorilla-love-story since Trading Places, and another unnecessary outing for Seth Green. Why is Travolta dressed (and hairplugged) up to look 15 years old? It seems that even when Hollywood are willing to admit its stars are "old" it still requires them to look younger ("better") than their age. Here, "old" is simply a synonym for "grown up" - these men may have acquired careers and wives (probably ex-wives, given the US media's obsession with broken families) and maybe even children, but they've never had to deal with crow's feet, a spare tire of fat, a prostate exam or the death of a friend - unless it was of dramatic significance.

The worst thing of all? This is the great Bernie Mac's last film. Of course we will soon forgive and forget, but for the poor young saps who sit through Old Dogs he will forever be known as "Jimmy Lunchbox" and remembered for the following exchange (quote from IMDB):
Charlie: "You crying, man?"
Jimmy Lunchbox: [holding back tears] "I ain't cryin'!"

Actually, my eyes feel kind of moist...

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