Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

July 1, 2009

He really shouldn't do things that make the awful head tattoo more pronounced.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Ricky Gervais tells a lie, Dylan Walsh terrorizes his family and Roland Emmerich destroys the world... again.

Spread – Opens August 14th

Ashton Kutcher is in a sex comedy. This can't be news to anyone. This time he portrays the ultimate player, Nikki, a guy who can bed any girl he so wishes. Any girl, of course, save for Heather (Margarita Levieva), a waitress his own age who's more hard to get than Nikki has ever been used to.

The trailer felt a bit awkward, namely in Kutcher's voiceovers and dialogues with chicks. He's not hyper and yelling things and making himself look like an idiot, but chilled, subdued and conscious of what's going on.

Honestly I don't know if I can buy his performance. He's so typecast as the guy who everyone wants to be friends with – why else is Ashton's profile the most followed on Twitter? – that his presence here as a mild, possibly deeper fellow is a bit tough to swallow.

Grade: C-

The Invention of Lying – Opens September 25th

Ricky Gervais has got to be one of the best comedians working in the business today. Both The Office (U.K.) and Extras firmly stand as two of my TV favorites, and his starring role in Ghost Town was performed at times with touches of both comedy and drama – a skill he honed on his two award-winning series. When news broke that he'd be writing his first feature (with Rob Lowe, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Tina Fey and so on in tow) my interest in the project skyrocketed.

So. How did The Invention of Lying's (formerly This Side of the Truth) trailer hold up?

Quite well, actually. You can breathe that sigh of relief. Though not hysterical, the comedy successfully translates its concept to screen.

In the movie, Gervais plays Mark, a man who lives in a world where lying doesn't exist. The people are honest about everything. If you're obese, people tell you. That sort of thing. The circumstances change, however, when Mark for whatever reason tells a lie, sparking an avid interest in him to discuss the unexpected news to his peers.

For a gimmick without a ton of fat, the material holds up and is rather funny. Mark's reactions to blunt honesty are vintage Gervais, and leads me to believe that this one's got a bit of heart in it as well.

Grade: B+


The Stepfather – Opens October 16th

The demonic ones are usually children. That kid from The Omen. The girl from The Orphan. And we're all familiar with The Exorcist. Get ready, folks. Now it's... a stepdad. And not just any ol' stepdad. But Dylan Walsh, star of FX's Nip/Tuck. In the role, he actually plays creepy rather well, so props to The Stepfather's casting department.

Everything else about the movie? Ehhh. I've seen scarier things on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. And it's not good manners to laugh at a horror-thriller trailer, yet I found myself doing exactly that.

Though The Stepfather threatens to share a piece of Saw's Halloween pie by being released in mid-October, I highly doubt this one would ever be a box office champ.

Grade: D

2012 – Opens November 13th

Oh, Roland Emmerich and his desire to destroy the world. What is with this dude and wiping out as many people as humanly possible?

Instead of aliens (Independence Day) or just making it up as he goes along (The Day After Tomorrow, which is arguably one of the top scientifically inaccurate pieces of garbage Hollywood has ever delivered to audiences), 2012 relies on a piece of "fact," courtesy of the Mayan Long Count calendar, which predicted eons ago that the end of the world would occur on December 21 or 23, 2012.

The belief has since been challenged by numerous scholars, who interpret the end-date as a spiritual transformation rather than strict Armageddon. Either way, kudos to Sony/Columbia for rushing to release 2012 by the end of this year -- when the average person's awareness of the supposed Armageddon and fear of it is still significant.

The movie itself is eye candy for the Roland Emmerichs at heart. Though if you're like me and don't buy into mindless disaster, then expect for this one not to have much of a story.

Grade: D+

The Last Airbender – Opens Summer 2010

M. Night Shyamalan can go ahead and continue releasing new material. I just know I'm probably never going to watch any of it again. The Village was dreadful, and I skipped Lady in the Water and The Happening due to a extreme lack of interest. Perhaps I'm not the target demo for The Last Airbender, but viewing its extended tease has me assuming this one will once again fail under the latter category.

The movie, based on a popular Nickelodeon toon, Avatar: The Last Airbender, follows the adventures of Aang and his friends, who must save the world by ridding it of the Fire Lord and his unending destructive war. The show lasted for three seasons between 2005 and 2008. And if The Last Airbender cashes in next summer, M. Night could very well have a trilogy on his hands.

Grade: C-



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