So Chris and I went to see Knocked Up this weekend (and we loved it, but more on that in a bit). And before the movie started we sat through the requisite commercials and videos and video-commercials and fake-movie-trailer-commercials, and then, finally, the actual trailers. One was for the new Hairspray movie, where theyâ€™ve replaced all the rare vintage R&B songs with self-important musical numbers and all the John Waters regulars with Scientologists. At least Tracy Turnblad is still fat in this version. As for the next two trailersâ€”well, Iâ€™ll post links to them, but I feel compelled to describe them, too, since seeing them back to back was especially dismaying. Plus the huge prosthetic pimples donâ€™t show up nearly as well on YouTube as they do on the big screen! So here we go:
Trailer 1: Dane Cook is the protagonist. We first see him at a wedding reception, where, during a toast, the bride calls him out as someone she dated before finally and triumphantly finding true love. Dane Cook has a reputation for being That Kind Of Guy, the one women sleep with just before meeting their husbands. But then he meets The Girl, and she is different. They stroll side-by-side down a scenic path, just about to kiss, when suddenly, BONK! she runs straight into a lamppost and falls the fuck over! Har har! True love ensues. Next comes the conflict and the gross-out parts: He has to sleep with a big fat girl with a mustache because he doesnâ€™t want to be That Kind of Guy anymore and hopes he can break the patten by having sex with someone so ugly sheâ€™ll never get married. We see the fat girlâ€™s huge prosthetic pimples and Dane Cookâ€™s horrified expressions. But will he ever get with The Girl?
Trailer 2: Ben Stiller is the protagonist. We first see him at a wedding reception, where, during a toast, the bride calls him out as someone she dated before finally and triumphantly finding true love. Ben Stiller has a reputation for being That Kind Of Guy, the one whoâ€™s perpetually single and wonâ€™t ever commit. But then he meets The Girl. They ride bikes side-by-side down a scenic path, just about to kiss, when suddenly, BONK! she runs straight into a trash can and falls the fuck over! Har har! Marriage ensues. Next comes the conflict and the gross-out parts: On their honeymoon his new wife turns out to be weird and crazy and she farts loudly in the bathroom, but he puts up with it because he doesnâ€™t want to be That Kind of Guy anymore. Then he meets The Other Girl, and she is different. We see the new wifeâ€™s huge prosthetic pimples and Ben Stillerâ€™s horrified expressions. But will he ever get with The Other Girl?
From these you might conclude the following about men and women and love and relationships: Marriage is the ultimate goal for most women, who pursue it ruthlessly, though of course they have to be unoffensive enough to even deserve it in the first place! They are all hot, except when theyâ€™re disgusting! Running into stuff and falling down spectacularly are helpfully distracting things a woman can do any time a man is in imminent danger of expressing his feelings to her! And also, itâ€™s funny! Andâ€¦and Iâ€™m sure thereâ€™s more but thatâ€™s all I can stand to extrapolate from these, because Iâ€™m afraid that watching them too much will make my soul withered and small and sad.
But Knocked Up was nothing like this. I can sort of see how the trailer might indicate otherwise, with the childbirth scene serving as the womenâ€™s-bodies-are-scary joke and a of throwaway bit of dialogue used as the marriage-is-full-of-unsexy-bathroom-stuff joke. But those jokes have less to do with the movie itself than they do with the creepy latent phobias of the trailer editors and/or some horrible focus group somewhere. Really, the movie was terrific, though Chris and I own the Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared box sets so weâ€™re probably biased.
And not for nothing, I read this article, and one of my favorite parts was where it mentioned all the stupid, totally puerile things that the guys in the cast do in real life. Because none of it seemed to involve laughing at fat women in bikinis, or pretty women falling flat on their faces, or any of the other thuggishly insecure little things that pass for funny in a lot of movies these days. No, it was mostly drinking games. And you know, I would rather watch a whole movie of Martin Starr playing Edward Fortyhands than one of these so-called “romantic comedies.” Hell, I would pay to just see the trailer.
This is why I never go to the movies. But I do want to see Knocked Up. Maybe when it reaches the second runs, so I won’t have to see how horribly women are? Sigh.
FYI, there was a Fresh Air last week which featured an interview with Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow. It wasn’t Terry Gross doing the interview, but her substitute is clearly a big fan… there’s a little overlap with the NY Times article, but it’s still worth listening to, I think!
Oh, also? You might be intrigued by this piece in which Buffy creator Joss Whedon examines the exploitative trailer for Captivity in the larger context of violence against women.
I saw all those trailers on Friday too. There was a super interesting article in Slate (“Unplanned Parenthood: What Knocked Up Gets Wrong About Women; http://www.slate.com/id/2167386/fr/flyout) that discussed how women are not as well represented in the film. I can’t even imagine what she would say about the trailers for the other wedding related films showing up before Knocked Up.
Yeah, I saw Knocked Up this weekend too, and caught that Dane Cook preview. The only other preview I remember (I was begging the whole time for the Transformers preview) was the one where Adam Sandler married the King of Queens. I am very tired of Jessicas Beal and Alba.
But I love Martin Starr so hard, even if he does look like the American Taliban guy the whole time. Or! Sporting a pony tail.
Oh, this makes me happy. I’m going to see Knocked Up this afternoon.
It’s actually almost physically painful to sit through the kind of movie trailers you mentioned. You KNOW the movie is going to be awful and offensive and you KNOW that it’s also going to be the number one film on it’s opening weekend (inevitably spawning… shudder… The Sequel). Audiences as a whole need a cinematic intervention.
This is exhausting, isn’t it? You’ve managed to keep it on the light side, congrats — I am considerably more angry on the inside, as I’m sure you are, too.
Oh, Bill Haverchuck is in this? I am late to the party, so I’m about halfway through the Freaks & Geeks DVDs and Bill is my favorite character of all. I look forward to seeing him in something else!
(I’m here via Gleemonex’s comments)
Haverchuck is King!
Jenny Lauck says
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Knocked Up – glad to see you loved it.