Anyone can tell you if a trailer "looks good" or not. But Drew Magary, who spent over a decade working in advertising, is here to tell you whether or not a trailer WORKS. This week's trailer? " What To Expect When You're Expecting".
Okay, so they made a movie out of "What To Expect When You're Expecting," which is a reference book for pregnant women and has no plot or characters or narrative arc. But every parent in the world has read it (NOTE: I have), and so when there's an existing brand property to exploit, Hollywood will be there to ruin it in 97 horrible minutes. If WTEWYE (my kewl abbreviation) somehow succeeds, I eagerly await the sequels: "What To Expect The First Year," "What To Expect The Toddler Years," and "What To Expect When The Little Bastard Is 26 And Still Won't Look For A Job." This one looks like it's going to be an all-star cameo orgy on par with the execrable "New Year's Eve." Will it manage to lure moviegoers wary of such Garry Marshall-led shenanigans? Let's answer a few questions:
Does the trailer let us know what the movie's about? Yes. It's about people who are having kids or are about to have kids. I don't know that director Kirk Jones will actually bother to make this a unified story, but certainly no one who sees this trailer is going to think it's about anything other than parenthood.
Does it promise to be "brutally honest" and crazy edgy? It does! The words "brutally honest" are right there in the trailer. That lets you know that this ain't your grandma's adaptation of a FAQ-laden reference book! Dis gon be REAL. People talk about racks and doing each other and all sorts of other ribald things. EDGE TO THE Y.
Wait, why does Cameron Diaz have a British accent? No clue. I feel completely disoriented hearing it.
Is Biggie's "Big Poppa" used in this trailer to comedic effect? You know it is.
How is Sarah Jessica Parker not in this movie? No idea. She must have been busy shooting "I Don't Know How She Has Sex On New Year's Eve" with forty other TV actors.
Are there "Bridesmaids" alums in this movie to help boost its comedy cred? There are. You've got the girl who played Kristen Wiig's roommate (she was great), plus Wendi McClendon-Covey, who brought along fellow "Reno 911!" castmate Tom Lennon with her. In fact, this movie is loaded with quite a bit of comedic talent (Lennon, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Banks), which I think gives it a much better chance of succeeding than any romcom that counts on Katherine Heigl to deliver its punchlines.
Is the trailer funny? Shockingly, it kind of is. Banks has a great moment in the opening of the trailer that helps change your expectations for the movie, and Rock does his whole "dropping into a movie to do stand-up" thing quite well.
How much does the presence of J-Lo hurt this movie's chances of being good? A lot. I reduce its chances of succeeding by 20% based on her presence alone.
Was Frankie Goes to Hollywood the right music choice for this trailer? Nope. It's about to be 2012, people. I think it's time to stop using '80s music as a comedic cue in movie trailers.
Does this trailer work? Yes. It's got enough funny moments to bring about the "Bridesmaids" comparisons, and its cushy May release date should help bring in the crowds. But I fear that Lopez Factor. If she's in this movie for more than five minutes, all bets are off.