Sasha Baron Cohen: Hey, sorry, your manipulatively marketed movie bombed
Sunday, July 12th, 2009
I was talking to a California teacher the other day about the way her kids casually call each other “gay,” as the universal synonym for “uncool.” As she put it, they sincerely have no clue.
Understandably, I didn’t have a lot of faith in the American public’s ability to appreciate the satire that supposedly excuses Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno. Its (relentless) marketers clearly hoped that their “expose” of homophobia might conveniently be mistaken for “look how funny fags are” flick a la Adam Sandler’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
The joke is on Bruno‘s promotional team, and Cohen himself. The movie made “only” 30 million this weekend, “shockingly low” according to the Los Angeles Times, which noted that its earnings collapsed from Friday to Saturday; all signs point, limply, to terrible word-of-mouth, possibly fueled by Twitter.
A couple theories. 1) It’s a lousy movie, whatever the majority of critics say; 2) For all the producers’ attempts to blur the satire factor for the bigot market, homophobes didn’t want to be seen at a “gay” movie.
Maybe the folks at Universal should have asked their kids.