Saturday, March 30, 2013
Jurnee Smollett's pregnant lip
It seems at least somewhat unlikely that Jurneee Smollett (now Jurnee Smollett-Bell) actually posed for this photo.
But the pregnant lip in question is supposed to belong to her character, a marriage counselor considering infidelity, who's the main character in Tyler Perry's Temptation (or Tyler Perry's Temptation -- I go back and forth about whether his name is actually part of the titles of his movies).
And damn if it isn't a near perfect single-image encapsulation of repressed desire.
The lip is, as I've suggested, damn near pregnant with desire, a desire that can't quite manifest. You could say it's the lips, but it's really that lower lip that's bulging, that's nearly dripping with lust. The teeth are biting back that lust as a basically futile effort to keep it from birthing into existence.
On the one hand, you could look at this poster and dismiss it as carrying the trappings of soft core eroticism. The poster's deep reds, and especially that title font, would support your claim. But that would be unjust. This poster is doing something that we rarely see posters do anymore. It's telling you what the story is about through a close-up of a small detail -- not through generic pictures of the two stars looking longingly at each other.
In that sense, I suppose it's good that Jurnee Smollett and the object of her lust, an actor named Robbie Jones, are not bigger stars, because then that might have been how they composed the poster. This way is much better.
Really, every time I see this poster, I'm drawn into it, and I look at it as long as I can. (So I'm glad I'm mostly seeing it on billboards, when the momentum of my car keeps me from just staring at it forever.)
The reasons are probably not that surprising. Lips have long been among the most sensual of body parts, and by themselves they can make a statement that other body parts can't. The Rolling Stones are just one entity that has used the iconic power of lips to help create and expand a brand.
Whether Temptations: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (that's the full title, meaning that Perry's name definitely should not be affixed to the front) will attain any kind of iconic status as a result of this poster remains to be seen, but since Perry's movies come out at a pace of two per year, it doesn't seem likely.
However, it is likely that I will see this movie on video, since I've been seeing about half of Perry's films for the past couple years. Not to mention the fact that I do like Smollett, who will probably smolder here, to make an obvious play on her name.
This movie also has a chance to exceed the usual audience for a Perry movie for one interesting reason: It contains at least one full scene in which Kim Kardashian acts. The trailers will naturally play up her involvement, because she continues to fascinate despite ample evidence that she probably shouldn't. But from the scenes of her in the trailer I saw, it's not clear whether she's actually in more than one scene.
And speaking of pregnancies (real or metaphorical), Kardashian probably can't wait to see this movie hit theaters as a reminder of what she looked like before the tabloids started jumping down her throat for gaining too much weight during her pregnancy.
So it'll be Smollett's pregnant lip vs. Kardashian's pregnant booty.