“Have you seen the Mortdecai trailer?,” a critic friend wrote this morning. “I’ve seen it in theaters twice recently, and each time I thought ‘who would find this crap funny?’ The answer: the people sitting around me, guffawing at every lame riff.” In other words, it’s going to do pretty well with the none-too-clevers. Congrats to Johnny Depp, director David Koepp and everyone else who was significantly involved.
People seem to love one-note comedies about pretentious, none-too-bright fools — this, Mike Myers-as-Austin Powers, Peter Sellers‘ Inspector Clouseau films. If the movie says “we’re showing you an asshole so please feel free to laugh…really, that’s the idea”…cool. But they don’t like dryly humorous or, God forbid, no-laugh-funny movies that don’t clearly tell them this. They don’t like having to figure stuff out. Take them by the hand and TELL them what a thing is, and they’ll sometimes go for it. Don’t take them by the hand and DON’T tell them what a thing is, and they’ll often…okay, they’ll sometimes react with discomfort, uncertainty and even anger.
“I know you shouldn’t judge a movie by its trailer, but that one made me definitely not want to see that movie,” my critic friend continued. “On the other hand I also saw a trailer for Inherent Vice and thought, “yeah, I’d love to see THAT movie. Except the actual movie is not nearly as entertaining as the trailer. So my conclusion is that trailers are evil.”