Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Bad Buzz Trio...

"Sad that the most vicious wrath is always reserved for those who try and fail instead of those who simply try to fail."

-- Posted by 'p.Vice' at June 4, 2008 10:43 AM on Jeff Wells' Hollywood-Elsewhere blog, in response to this Defamer article, detailing the three big summer films that are indeed getting hit by the lousiest buzz.

A perfect summation of the wrath inexplicably thrown at M. Night Shyamalan over the yet unseen 'The Happening' as well as the wrath tossed at the Wachowski Bros. over 'Speed Racer'.

The Happening may be terrible (and the defiled poster is stupidly funny), but the mass ganging up on M. Night is starting to resemble that of a school bully picking on the smaller, smarter kid who's more ambitious than you.

The other two films that are targeted are Mike Myers' The Love Guru and Get Smart, both of which are set to open on June 20th. It is a turning point in the marketing of The Incredible Hulk that it is not included on said list. The trailers have gotten better and the mass invite of geek gossip sites (AICN, Dark Horizons, etc) into the editing bay was a great way to build positive buzz.

The buzz on Get Smart since its inception was that it was a slapdash and lazy attempt to cash in on a brand name that few if any of the target demographic has ever heard of. The script got terrible reviews and the initial trailers felt forced and desperate.

The film had and still has the whiff of assembly-line film making, probably more so than anything coming out this summer (according to an early script review, female lead and romantic interest Agent 99 is the same age as 46 year old Steve Carell, but she undergoes plastic surgery so she can look like demographically desirable 26 year old Anne Hathaway). Still, I'm expecting a decent opening weekend as the marketing campaign has been varied and saturation-level. It looks shiny and effortless and Carell, Hathaway, and Dayne 'The Rock' Johnson each have a small and solid fan base. Ironically, the same $32 million opening weekend that doomed Evan Almighty last year would probably seem like a healthy result for this (hopefully) cheaper and less pressured entry.

The Love Guru just looks atrocious and egotistical, and the buzz reflects as much. Never mind the silly attention-hogging interest groups who are protesting the unseen film for its alleged slandering of the Hindu faith, Myers has no goodwill left after trashing the Austin Powers series and defiling our childhood memories via The Cat And The Hat back in 2003. Heck, Myers hasn't had a solid live-action outing since the first Austin Powers, back in 1997 (to be fair, he was good in the studio-butchered '54').

So yes, of those three, I'll take Shyamalan's noble failure over Peter Segal's or Mike Myers' lazy success any day of the week.

Scott Mendelson

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