Monday, July 9, 2012

Lame Trailer Clichés: 8 Things You'll Always See In Rom-Com Trailers

Ah, romantic comedies. When did we last see a good one? Well, if you did, chances are they weren't made for Hollywood's sake or they were made years ago. I think the question that we really need to be asking is when was the last time you saw a trailer for a romantic comedy and thought "YES. I'm going to see that because it looks so original." Yeah...didn't think so. That's because romantic comedy trailers employ the same techniques. Here are the main five:

1. "Meet this person in this glorious freeze frame."


The ironic thing about this freeze frame introducing us to Stephanie Plum, Katherine Heigl's latest 'heroine' from One for the Money, is that her facial expression is pretty much how I looked through the entire movie. Foreshadowing, perhaps? Oh One for the Money, you really are too good.

2. Annoying narration telling us what's the haps when we could probably figure it out ourselves. 


Not only do we get a freeze frame of Kristen Bell, she has to tell us that she's wearing a headset. Then she precedes to tell us every single little detail of the trailer. Wow, those trailer makers really think that we're dumb.

3. Annoying pop songs. 


This one has already been covered by moi. But seriously, when have you ever seen a romantic comedy trailer without a pop song in it? It is only a matter of time before we get a trailer set to 'Call Me Maybe'.

4. The line-up of actors. 


This may seem like a basic trailer cliché from any genre, but it really isn't. Romantic comedies somehow get the biggest names, and that's why they keep hoarding in money. However, you don't see films with great casts like Inception or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy dedicating a slice of their trailer just to adorn their stars in their own ego by boasting their names from the treetops. And that's how people like Sarah Jessica Parker continue to be famous.

5. Things you won't see in the movie. 


This will really only make sense if you've actually seen the film, but some of the best jokes NEVER make it into the film. I mean, this trailer for Valentine's Day is pretty much comprised off stuff that never actually happened in the film. That's false advertising.

6. The film laughs at it's own jokes. 


Here's Chris Pine having a good old laugh at the end of This Means War's trailer. He's supposedly laughing at Tom Hardy getting shot where it hurts most with a paintball gun. Except, from what I can remember, he wasn't actually laughing at that at all. This is just a random shot of him guffawing and it is stuck in the trailer to make sure that the audience laughs. It is kind of like those people who stand with giant cards at shows that say "cry" or "laugh". I don't appreciate being told what to do.

7. That annoying sound that I don't know how to explain but it sort of sounds like cymbals or stuff simmering in a pot but it is annoying.


Just watch Something Borrowed's trailer (at your own peril) and you'll know what sound I'm talking about.

8. The entire movie. In two and a half minutes. 


I don't think any detail of the plot was spared in this trailer. But that's because most romantic comedies have about two and a half minutes worth of plot in them. 

What do you think? Do you know of any clichés in rom-com trailers that you just have to burst out?

41 comments:

  1. My God, these are all so annoying. Very perceptive post - a good trailer should have none of these. I was listening to Mark Kermode rant the other day about how trailers give away the entire film - he actually suggested to listeners that the trailers of certain films could be watched instead of the movie and the viewer could say they've seen the entire film. Probably true with certain movies.

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    1. Haha, I have that feeling all the time since I'm constantly surrounded by trailers. Come to think of it, I probably watch about 30 films a day, 3-5 times over. Interesting.

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  2. Hey Chris Pine is awesome :P I am going to defend This Means War to death!!

    But sadly, everything you say is true. I hate these films which ruin the name of romcoms. And gosh number 8 is a trailer cliche for soooo many trailers, it is very annoying!!

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    1. This Means War was pretty entertaining. Only because Chris Pine and Tom Hardy were so HOT! (see, I'm still a teenager)

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  3. Ahhh rom-com trailers....I am not a massive rom-com fan, and if anything can put me off seeing one, it's their trailers....

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  4. I watched This Means War yesterday. That's a shocking film, and an even more shocking trailer! nice work Stevee!!

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    1. Haha, come on, This Means War wasn't that bad! And hey, I have to see that trailer five times a day at the moment! (curse you, work)

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  5. Awright, awright... Stevee, stop it. Trailer-watching will get boring after a while. Trailer STUDYING, however, is much worse - it will be detrimental to one's desire to even watch movies, period! Stop it! hehehe

    I have pondered what it's like to be a Trailer Editor, or a Trailer "Creator" (if ever there was a misuse of a concept!)... but it apparently pays money to some folks, and that Always-Oh-So-Right Marketing Machine insists on them.

    Don't you wonder if there's a Degree Program in these? UCLA's Masters In Art for Trailer Production? USC's PhD in Trailer Arts? All of these lead to teaching classes that end with "poking one's eyes out with sharp sticks", I think. "Oh great, you get an A. See?" No. No, I can't.

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    1. Well if I stopped trailer-watching, I would have to quit my job. And I need money.

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  6. Stevee, that laugh could have saved me some money on "This means war."
    - Maurice Mitchell

    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins

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  7. I'm shocked that Katherine Heigl wasn't in all the trailers. There actually is a rom-com without her in it? ;P

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    1. Haha, that was going to be one of my trailer clichés: Katherine Heigl.

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  8. I think the last good rom-com I saw was (500) Days of Summer, last month. And yeah, it's pretty old.
    Nice post.

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    1. Ah, but (500) Days of Summer is an anti-rom-com, if we're wanting to get all technical about it.

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  9. Like Tyler said, a very perceptive post. I often tune out rom-com trailers as soon as I realize that's what they are (you could say I'm not a fan of the genre), but it amazed me how many of these I recognized as true as soon as you mentioned them. Didn't get the cymbals one until I played the trailer, but once I did I realized how right you are about that... that cymbal crash is in almost all of them, isn't it? Dramatic moment? CRASH! It's like the canned laughter, only for "impact" moments.

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    1. Yes, it definitely is like canned laughter! It is all over rom-com trailers - every time I hear that noise a part of me dies inside.

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  10. This is all so true! I don't know if you watch Game of Thrones, but someone mashed it up as a "rom com trailer" and it really hit the nail on the head with just about every point you made...including Call Me Maybe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-w98pNAi9A

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    1. Haha, I just started watching Game of Thrones, actually. I saw this trailer. Someone else has got the textbook for making rom-com trailers!

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  11. All annoying shortcuts used in trailers and not only rom-com trailers but just about any of them out there. It's hard to be original these days but studios should try harder, especially when they spend so much money on marketing.

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    1. They should try harder. The Muppets marketing was the best. Everyone should learn from that.

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  12. I;m going to be honest and say i some of the pop songs used in rom-com trailers i actually like/don't mind. But i will agree they have become a cliche of the genre.

    Also, i saw a modern hollywood rom-com that is actually pretty good called "Definitely, Maybe". Considering like you am not not a fan of 99% of movies produced in that genre i was a it surprised,and i only checked it out is because it got unusually good reviews, but i am glad i did.

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    1. Definitely Maybe was actually quite good. I really enjoyed that one.

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  13. Oh man... I was groaning through each number in that list. This is why the rom-com genre is starting to die because they play to too many cliches.

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    1. They seem particularly happy with making a business on clichés. Unfortunately.

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  14. Great choices on the list, very true - they are present in pretty much all trailers for rom coms. There are also about hundred shots of the protagonists smiling in them, just to give the "oh we are so happy an beautiful, come and watch us!" vibe.

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  15. You hit the nail right on the head, Stevee! These are just a small portion of what troubles me about rom-coms, soooo trite and idiotic, and worst of all, they think WE are that way, too! You haven't even covered some of the worst ones w/ Jennifer Aniston, ahah. Letters to Juliet is actually a sweet movie, but you wouldn't guess that from that darn trailer!

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    1. I know, right! I always feel so dumb when I see these trailers because of the way they are made.

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  16. That Sex and The City 2 trailer looks to be more misogynistic then a Neil Labute play.

    I like what you said about trailers that tell you the whole story in under two minutes. I find that to be the case for a lot of movies in other genres too. Great post.

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    1. Sex and the City 2 is one of the most misogynistic things I've ever seen! Seriously.

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  17. Great post -- it made me laugh out loud. :-) I think you nailed it. I am especially irked by #2, especially since the narrative is often insufferably cute.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! #2 is one of the things that annoyed me the most.

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  18. My god that Kristin Bell film looks shockingly bad! I don't really know what else I can say, you pretty much got them all. Although I do remember watching an episode of iCarly a couple years back and they actually did quite a funny rom-com parody trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV964zWTTUE

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    1. That Kristen Bell film is really bad! And haha, that video was quite funny!

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  19. hahaha. this is soooo true!

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  20. Nicely done. I would add (and you have examples of this):

    - The last 1/4 of the trailer where the trailer editor attempts to tell you something insightful (that was likely rejected from a Hallmark greeting card pitch) by putting it on screen... One ... Word ... at ... a ... Time.

    The other is more of an addendum, but when you put the picture of the character on-screen with the actress' name next to it. They must be casually laughing at something off-screen. Not smiling. Not guffawing. They must only be slightly amused.

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  21. I just remembered this, it's pretty old so I'm lots of people have seen it but it brought tears of laughter to my eyes- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbhrz1-4hN4

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    1. I love them, they even got Joss Whedon in their most recent video. I found a romantic comedy version that was likely inspired by this one that for my comment right below this one.

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  22. This totally needs to be a video mashup. Though it did make me go and find this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GETykSt4CQU

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