By Eric Hughes
November 18, 2009
Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Jeff Bridges emulates Mickey Rourke, Steve Carell and Tina Fey pitch a slow ball and Jake Gyllenhaal still doesn't look Persian.
Across the Hall – Opens December 4th
Seeing Brittany Murphy's beautiful face in the trailer to Across the Hall saddens me for the very reason that it reminds me of how much I liked her as an actress when she was a biggish deal during the earlier part of the decade. Remember Brittany? Don't Say a Word, 8 Mile, Just Married. The last time she was in anything mainstream was Happy Feet. And that was voice acting from three years ago.
Across the Hall has a Phone Booth-y quality to it paired with a pinch of Rear Window. (Perhaps the latter movie is on the brain because of January Jones' lame performance on SNL over the weekend that I'm still trying desperately to erase from memory). In the movie, Brittany plays the victim of her fiancée's deadly game after he allegedly catches her cheating on him. As retribution, her fiancée stakes out the hotel room across the hall from where Brittany is with a revolver in one hand and his best friend, Terry, in the other. (Not in the literal sense; Terry is on the phone).
The trailer works in the sense that it's about as straightforward as they come. Fiancée is angry, so he frantically finds what he feels is a justifiable solution, with friendly support on line one. The editors don't waste any time with flashy text or unnecessary back story. The idea essentially sells itself.
Crazy Heart – Opens December 16th
As I was reading over the synopsis to Crazy Heart, I couldn't help but think of The Wrestler. Both movies play upon the theme of old, worn-out entertainers who face a change that propel them back to their glory days. (There's even a twangy piece of music that plays throughout the trailer's runtime... familiar). In Crazy Heart's case, it's Jeff Bridges, who plays a broken-down piece of country music singer meat who's been married several times, spent too many years on the road and would consider heavy liquor a personal friend. His attempt at turning his life around hits its stride through the help of a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who discovers the true man behind the musician.
Perhaps comparing Crazy Heart to The Wrestler – which I consider the best movie of 2008 and one of my all-time favorites – is a bit ambitious. After watching the trailer to Crazy Heart, any interest I had in the project essentially died. The drama feels forced and there's an over reliance on a bearded-out Bridges looking extremely forlorn. (We get it: He's sad!). What we end up with in the trailer probably could have been squeezed into a teaser.
Bitch Slap – Opens January 8th, 2010
There's way too much to focus on in the trailer to Bitch Slap, which supposedly puts a modern day spin on the B-movie/exploitation films of the ‘50s-‘70s. There's cleavage galore (three busty femme fatales competing for film heroine), countless villains and a number of seemingly ridiculous scenarios that somehow have to fit together. There's also a lot of girls stripping down to their skivvies to take outside showers with a garden house (like in Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, which is probably being spoofed here).
It sounds fun, but fails to do for its genre what Tarantino/Rodriguez did for Grindhouse a couple of years ago. Bitch Slap feels second rate.
Date Night – Opens April 9th, 2010
As a devoted fan of both The Office and 30 Rock, it pains me to label Date Night a failure. But to do any different would be a lie – and in no way can I make it through an average day with a weight that heavy on my heart. (Or something). Honestly though, THIS is Date Night? The movie that I thought was going to be about Steve Carell and Tina Fey spending a wholesome night at home over a home cooked meal with celebrity friends and a rowdy game of charades is instead a breakneck heist film about a sluggish couple who inadvertently reignite the spark they once had between them through the "help" of corrupt cops, mobsters and other superfluous characters.
I pretty much found nothing redeeming about Date Night. It's shockingly unfunny and boring, even with its stellar ensemble cast (we see Carell, Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco and Mila Kunis in the trailer; Ray Liotta, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig and Taraji P. Henson, among others, are awaiting in the wings). Consider this project a generic, bloated Hollywood clunker and keenly remove it from your to-do list, please.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Opens May 28th, 2010
With Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer are hoping to have the next Pirates of the Caribbean on their hands. (The wordy title certainly passes the first test). But, my friends, its most notable (and, well, noticeable) error is that the actor playing the titular character, Jake Gyllenhaal, is so not the person who should be in this movie. Bruckheimer's camp does realize that Jake won't ever pass for Persian, right?