Saturday, June 26, 2010
The Comedians Who Wouldn't Go Away
If you're like me, you thought June 25th would never arrive.
But here it finally is. Which means they can finally stop promoting the fuck out of Grown Ups.
It's not the number of television commercials, billboards, or advertisements plastered on the sides of buses that have been excessive. That's been about in line with industry standards.
No, it's that you can't go anywhere without seeing Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade, in some combination, but most often all five together.
They've been at baby christenings. They've been smashing bottles of champagne against the hulls of ships. They've been cutting the ribbons outside of malls. They've been offering their expertise on how to solve the BP crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
It's enough to drive a person crazy.
They say the more something is relentlessly promoted, the less good it probably is, so watch out for this one. In light of recent discussions we've had on this blog, I'm trying to withhold judgment on films I haven't seen yet. But it doesn't mean I can't talk about some bad indicators, and the indicators are all bad for Grown Ups right now.
The fivesome you see here literally started promoting this movie back in February. I didn't witness it myself, but I heard on sports talk radio a few weeks back that they were hanging around the Super Bowl in their inseparable group of five funnymen, at various stages of career decay, getting out the word about their big summer movie in the dead of winter. You usually start seeing ads for summer movies around then -- in fact, the Super Bowl is renowned for being a showcase for such ads. But it's usually still months before the distributor sends its stars out on a publicity campaign. In the case of Grown Ups, the media blitz started then and hasn't let up.
I suppose NBA fans, like myself, were subjected to an extra large dose of the Grown Ups. Not only was the movie one of the sponsors for the TV coverage of the basketball playoffs, but almost all of these guys seem to have been Lakers fans with courtside seats, independent of any promotional tie-in. Of course, in the actual tie-ins -- there was one they played constantly, where the five guys sat around talking about great championship teams -- Sandler wore his Knicks jersey, and they didn't betray any specific biases for any current playoff teams. But whether they were biased toward any particular team or not, they were still ubiquitous.
Another reason why it seems so sad, that they've been working so hard for this movie, is that it really does seem like a lazy project in which three successful comic actors are trying to lift up two unsuccessful ones. It's no secret that Rock, Sandler, Schneider and Spade were all friends from their Saturday Night Live days -- in fact, I've read that Kevin James felt like quite the fifth wheel, with no SNL war stories to tell. But two of those guys seem to be slumming in order to help out the other two. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out who's who in this scenario. As for James, well, I guess this is about in line with the other movies he's been making. But he definitely has more going on in general than Schneider and Spade (oops, I mentioned their names).
Anyway, hopefully, today it all ends. Or at least tones down a bit. You often continue to see ads for movies for a week or two after they've hit theaters. But at least these five will probably no longer be weighing in on Stanley McChrystal or discussing their picks for the World Cup.
And just so I don't have to leave Grown Ups on a totally destitute note, I will say that I absolutely love the poster for this movie. Not only is it perfectly composed, showing all five stars with their varying levels of importance (though I might argue that Rock and James should change places based on their current career fortunes), but it also tells you what the movie's about in one perfect image: Five guys who haven't grown up. I also like it for its originality, as it may just be the first movie poster ever to feature guys on a waterslide.