Tuesday, August 25, 2009
There are annoying trends, and then there are really annoying trends.
I bemoaned the overuse of the term "bromance" in this post. But I assumed I only had to be concerned about that breed of entertainment writers who walk that fine line between clever and obnoxious.
Not so. Apparently this term has really gripped our collective subconscious by the lapels, because now the suits at Time Warner Cable have gotten hold of it. In the strangest way: They've turned it into its own distinct genre, which you can search in the menu.
That's right, if you search pay-per-view movies by category on Time Warner, you've got your standard choices: Family, Comedy, Action, Drama, Indies, International Hits ... and Bromance.
I first became aware of this while searching our HBO and Cinemax OnDemand for movies we might want to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. (We ended up with Ocean's Thirteen). In the little window that plays Time Warner ads on the upper right as you consider your OnDemand options, there was an ad for this new category. I wasn't surprised to see I Love You, Man -- one of the only movies that truly cries out to be labeled a bromance -- as the central feature of this ad campaign.
Only I didn't find I Love You, Man available when I actually checked out the category. Here's what I did find:
And, oh yeah:
The Pink Panther 2
Come on, Time Warner.
None of these movies would I actually label a bromance, but to be fair, I haven't seen any of them, either. But I can at least see how they might have shoehorned it in with some of them. Fired Up! involves two football players infiltrating a cheerleading camp, though I have to say, these dudes are probably in it more for the bounty of female booty than strengthening their own bond. In 17 Again, when Matthew Perry's character time-warps within his own personal history to become his 17-year-old self (Zac Efron), he has only adult best friend Thomas Lennon to lean on. Miss March is probably a lot like Fired Up!, where a guy (with the help of some pal, I'm sure) is trying to rekindle things with a high school flame who became a centerfold. And I'd never heard of Super Capers, but a preliminary search tells me it's about wannabe superheroes.
Like I said, none of those are promising building blocks for a new subgenre of movies.
But The Pink Panther 2? There are more problems than I can even list with that one.
First off, aren't bromances supposed to occur between men who are generally young? Steve Martin turned 64 last week.
Secondly, who is he supposed to be having his bromance with? Jean Reno? John Cleese? Andy Garcia? Alfred Molina? Jeremy Irons? These are the other men in this movie.
Thirdly, there are plenty of other categories I'd like to see this movie associated with first: Comedy, Farce, International Intrigue, Lazy Paycheck Movie, Misbegotten Hollywood Garbage. (It does also appear among comedies.)
Here's what they're really trying to do with the bromance category: grab the attention of people (read: guys) who have enjoyed the movies we could legitimately consider bromances. You could consider "bromance" a synonym for "buddy movie" under these broad guidelines. It's basically a play for fans of Judd Apatow, and of movies that remind a person of Judd Apatow.
Miss March? Check. Fired Up!? Check. 17 Again? Getting weaker, but I'll give it to you. Super Capers? Who knows. Who cares.
The Pink Panther 2? A movie whose jokes are all some variation on Steve Martin doing an irritating French accent?
There's marketing to us, and then there's insulting us. Time Warner is doing the latter. In trying to becoming younger and more hip, they're just revealing themselves as hopeless and clueless to those of us who can tell the difference.
And for those who can't ... well, please enjoy that nuanced comedy of twentysomething homoerotic awkwardness, The Pink Panther 2.