Saturday, March 16, 2013

Logline trainwreck

Upside Down, starring Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess, is just the kind of film I gravitate toward. (I write this with the understanding that "gravitate" is an especially pregnant choice of verbs in discussing a movie that seems to feature mirrored worlds pressing up against each other.) I really dug Another Earth, for example. This could be the bigger-budget, effects-laden cousin of Another Earth.

Except that an unintentionally hilarious logline for this movie has risen to the surface, and it makes me giggle every time I hear it.

The film is serving in an underwriting capacity on KCRW at the moment. In case you don't know what "underwriting" is, it's basically the closest public radio and television can come to advertising without actually advertising. In exchange for money, the underwriter gets its name mentioned in a "sponsored by" capacity, where there's no actual marketing of the product in question other than the fact that it's being mentioned in the first place. Underwriting spots are also produced by the radio station, rather than the underwriter.

So right now I'm hearing on KCRW the following description of Upside Down:

"Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess star in Upside Down, an interplanetary dystopian romance about a young man's search for the long-lost girl of his dreams."

Um ...

Interplanetary dystopian romance?

While that may be a concise and accurate description of the movie, it sounds like a joke.

As I dissect why it strikes me as so funny, I realize it's because the adjectives "interplanetary" and "dystopian" are basically selling to the same audience twice. That three-word phrase is essentially saying "Sci-fi sci-fi romance." By that logic, "interplanetary romantic comedy" or "dystopian romantic comedy" would actually be less funny. Then at least you'd be telling someone that there's sci-fi and romance and comedy.

Will I be seeing this interplanetary dystopian romance?

You know, other than these plugs on the local NPR station, Upside Down hasn't been getting a lot of press. The only trailer I've seen for it was many months ago, when someone pointed me toward it online, and it's only playing at two theaters in LA. That's a little unusual for a movie that seems to have some visual touches in common with something like Inception. Then again, people can make visually striking movies these days without it meaning there's a big budget, so perhaps this interplanetary dystopian romance is just not a fit for the multiplex audience.

Besides, it's up against The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and that features Jim Carrey.

More likely than not, though, I won't be going to the theater at all this weekend as I use my available free time to a) go to a poker game tonight, and b) prepare for my fantasy baseball draft, which is next Wednesday.

If I hadn't already chosen my team name, Interplanetary Dystopian Romance might really be a good one.

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