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Criticwatch - Robbin' Letters From Thy Summer Whores

by Erik Childress

Not a great weekend as far as the movies were concerned this past weekend. It looked worse earlier in the week as the numbers on Letters To Juliet were pretty rank. While the opposite effect was had on Robin Hood as early positive reviews turned to pot the closer the film got to opening. All three major releases (including the Queen Latifah sports romance, Just Wright) all wound up hovering around the 45% approval mark at Rotten Tomatoes. None of them fresh. None of them on the positive side. But smack dab in the definition of what constitutes truly mixed reviews. Seems with such a split down the middle there would be more critics to choose from to populate the film's ads with. Instead of, you know, the ones we have been warning you about.

Last week, Paramount utilized both Peter Travers and Mark S. Allen on their Iron Man ads, two of the ten whores to keep an eye out for. Ten whores we will continue to plead with the studios NOT TO USE in their ads. This is to their benefit as we are on to them (have been for years) and it is clear they are not to be trusted, even when they are praising good films. Even though Fox Searchlight did jump the gun on getting At the Movies' Michael Phillips on the ads for Just Wright (he said "see it", but then so did his partner, A.O. Scott), they led with Mark S. Allen - now co-leading the summer whore game. He called it:

"A big, big winner! Queen Latifah & Common are the perfect all-star team. Not to be missed!"

Cute for those aware that the film involves a pro basketball player. Allen is no stranger to hoops puns. He called Semi-Pro, "Will Ferrellicious" and said "youíll laugh so hard youíll dribble." In fact, Allen is no stranger to puns of any type. Or repeating himself.

Royally entertaining! (The Princess Diaries 2)
This is The Alamo to remember! (The Alamo)
Awesome. This is the Cinderella to remember. (A Cinderella Story)

Perfect all-star team, huh Mark? What else have you referred to as "perfect?"

...the perfect family fantasy film. (Inkheart)
Perfect family comedy. Herbie is hot and fully entertaining! (Herbie: Fully Loaded)
The perfect family film. The most loveable movie this season. (Marley and Me)
The perfect holiday film! (Mr. Magoriumís Wonder Emporium)
Funny, sexy & smart, the perfect summer date movie. (Alex and Emma)
The perfect date movie. Smart, funny and refreshing! (Trust the Man)
The perfect mix of sexy-funny-rock-the-house action! You will see this again and again! (Charlieís Angels: Full Throttle)

Marketers at Fox Searchlight - you are better than this. You can find better. Do some research. Don't resort to the desperate measures of the folks at Summit who used FOUR of the whores from the Summer Ten. Selling your sneak previews with Shawn Edwards, Jeff Craig, Greg Russell and Maria Salas (not to mention a candidate for 2011, Kelli Gillespie) convince no one who is paying attention to the names under those quotes.

A romantic, enchanting and beautiful love story. Letters is the perfect date movie. (Letters To Juliet)
Adam Sandler and Kevin James are a winning team. Perfectly hilarious! (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry)
Hilarious, the perfect summer movie! (Nacho Libre)
The perfect holiday comedy. (The Holiday)

She might have something to say to Mark S. Allen about precisely what is the perfect date movie, the perfect seasonal film and who makes up the perfect, winning team. Greg Russell, on the other hand, may have to start an argument with himself. Calling Letters To Juliet "the most romantic movie of the year", does he need to be reminded what he said just a few months prior.

A true-blue American love story. (Dear John)
A sweeping romantic masterpiece. (Remember Me)

Guess so. What else do you expect from the guy who called 2007's Transformers "the most original movie of the year." It's not like that film had a toy line, cartoon or previous film to take inspiration from, now did it? Could someone rub off some inspiration on the disembodied voice known as Jeff Craig though?

****. A lovely and irresistible tale of true love...It's altogether wonderful. A pure delight. (Letters To Juliet)
**** Unmissable. Terrific. Dazzling. An eye-popping delight. (Australia)
**** A terrific, star-studded film. A pure delight! (My One and Only)
An irresistible comedy that will put a big fat smile on your face. (My Life In Ruins)
A joyful film that will leave a lump in your throat. Itís altogether wonderful, and youíll want to bring a friend. (The Secret Life of Bees)

I mean, seriously. No seriously, WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP USING SHAWN EDWARDS???

****. Loved it! Sophisticated, charming and heartfelt! Vanessa Redgrave is sensational and Amanda Seyfried will absolutely steal your heart! (Letters To Juliet)
****! Excellent! The most charming and wonderful movie you'll see all year. (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants)
Genuinely funny! Ghost Town is a sophisticated, witty and charming comedy. (Ghost Town)
Sophisticated, intelligent, powerful. (State of Play)
A refreshingly cool, sophisticated and completely romantic film... (Definitely, Maybe)
A grand slam. Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst both serve aces in this charming romantic comedy. (Wimbledon)
Wonderful! The surprise of the summer. A heartfelt, moving and touching film. (Georgia Rule)
Wonderful! Delightful! Enchanting! Penelope is the most charming and irresistibly romantic movie youíll likely see all year. I loved it. (Penelope)

Now for Robin Hood, Universal stuck with praise from across the globe where it opened first. The Sunday Mirror, Empire and News of the World unfortunately had whatever credibility they have obtained by sharing ad space with whole galore, Pete Hammond. Dean "Spectacular" Richards and newbie Christina "must-see epic adventure" Vandre were seen on roving online ads, but Easy Petey took center stage as the first quote on Ridley Scott's latest collaboration with Russell Crowe.

"A triumphant success! Spectacular epic moviemaking at its best in the tradition of Gladiator and Braveheart."

Sounds a lot like what he said about Appaloosa:

"A masterful triumph! Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen are a dynamite screen pairing. A classic in the spirit of Unforgiven."

Then again, Hammond loves to talk up spectacular triumphs in the tradition of something else.

World-class filmmaking, an unqualified triumph from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. (Babel)
An absolute triumph on every level that even tops his Oscar-winning Spirited Away. (Howl's Moving Castle)
An animation triumph! Thrilling, funny, charming and inspiring. (Kung Fu Panda)
A triumphant return to Narnia! Itís magical and fun. Perfect for all ages. (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
Magnificent! An absolute triumph for Denzel Washington. Will make you believe again in the power of movies. (The Great Debaters)
Stirring and triumphant! (Goal! The Dream Begins)
Triumphant! A true gem of a film. (Is Anybody There?)

Spellbinding! Spectacular! Sensationally acted and brilliantly directed, this Potter tops them all! (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
Spectacular! An extraordinary new 3D version of the greatest Christmas story of all. (A Christmas Carol)
...gets 2010 off to a spectacularly exciting start. (The Book Of Eli)
Spectacular. Remarkable in every way, even better than March of the Penguins, Earth is a breathtaking motion picture achievement. (Earth)
Spectacular. (Flyboys)
Beyond spectacular! Transports you to an alternate world of jaw-dropping awe and unforgettable adventure (The Golden Compass)

A fast, furious and riotously funny farce in the tradition of Monty Python and Peter Sellers. (Death at a Funeral - 2007)
A real charmer! In the tradition of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. (Everybody Wants to Be Italian)
...grand entertainment in the best tradition of the movies. (Amelia)
Itís a who-might-have-done-it in the grand tradition of the great mystery movies. (Hollywoodland)
A stunning motion picture experience in the grand tradition! (Memoirs of a Geisha)

Want to know what Pete Hammond considers "the funniest film of the year?" Tune in next week.

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originally posted: 05/17/10 15:51:14
last updated: 05/17/10 15:57:10
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