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TraversWatch - Always The Bride, Never The Maid

by Erik Childress

Welcome to another edition of TraversWatch, the feature that begs studios to stop using Peter Travers in their ads the way we pleaded to get Ben Lyons off At the Movies. Whatever role we might have played in the latter we are happy to accept and maybe, just maybe, someone is paying attention to the Travers scorn as well. In light of him still leading all whores again through May 13, 2011 with 20, if you look at the Big Six studios only two of them have quoted him all year. Disney, Fox, Paramount and Sony after making up 18 of his 80+ quotes in 2010 have simply said no thanks to the words of Travers. Now if we can just convince Universal and Warner Bros. to do the same as they have allowed four of his quotes to stain their films this year, including this week's Bridesmaids.

Before we get to that though, let us not mistake the numbers as great strides in the studio marketing schemes. Travers shows 51 reviews from 2011 at Rotten Tomatoes, 30 of which are in the positive. (22 of the last 30 have been positive, for those who like trends.) That means two of every three films he has reviewed positively this year end up being quoted on the ads. On the flipside, 15 of his 21 negative reviews have been at the expense of the Big Six, including four from Universal and a whopping six out of WB's seven releases. The only positive review he has given Warner this year was for Unknown, a film he gave only two stars to but still heaped enough praise upon it to earn a fresh tomato. Naturally, the WB jumped on it and quoted him.

Sony passed on Travers' praise of The Green Hornet and Disney ignored him on Prom (and every other critic for their barren ads.) Paramount clearly didn't need to embrace the Peter on Rango and Thor, two films that continue to rank amongst the best five wide releases reviewed this year at Rotten Tomatoes. So why has Universal felt it necessary to add him to the ads for Bridesmaids? Just last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart (apparently a frequent Rotten Tomatoes onlooker) noted to Kristen Wiig that her film is generating the kind of positive response normally reserved for a movie where Daniel Day-Lewis is dying. And it's absolutely true. On percentage points alone, Bridesmaids at 92% is currently (as of May 13 @ 11:09 AM) just ahead of Source Code as the BEST reviewed major release of the year. 97 positive reviews vs. 9 negative compared to Source Code's 194 & 20. So, in sports terms it is still 43 out of first place, but as the reviews continue to pour in, it is unlikely to find itself dropping out of the Top 5. Maybe all summer.

Universal already doesn't need to be using Pete Hammond in the commercials calling it "the best comedy of 2011," a distinction that means little from the guy who called Shrek Forever After "the funniest film of the year" at nearly the same period in 2010. It certainly doesn't need this joker:

"Hilarious and heartfelt. Kristen Wiig is an indisputable goddess of comedy." (Bridesmaids) - Peter Travers

"Hilarious and heartfelt. Irresistible....makes its own special magic." (The Kids Are All Right)

"It's a sublimely acted movie, hilarious and heartfelt, and it stays with you." (Jack Goes Boating)

"A hilarious and heartfelt wonder!" (Ratatouille)

"A sweetheart of a comedy with a hilarious and heartfelt performance by Keri Russell." (Waitress)

"A beauty of a movie. Hilarious! Heartfelt and achingly true." (Then She Found Me)

"Hilarious and heartfelt...a winner." (Garden State)

"Hilarious and heartfelt. What makes Prime a winner is the way writer-director Ben Younger blends raucous laughs with touching gravity." (Prime)

"Hilarious and heartfelt!" (The Wackness)

"Heartfelt and hilarious! It’s more than a movie, it’s a gift." (Happy-Go-Lucky)

"...a gem, hilarious and heartfelt…" (The Dukes)

Yes, such a gem Travers. You don't often find too many movies that are both "hilarious" AND "heartfelt." But you can find more than enough critics to choose quotes from not named Pete Hammond or Peter Travers. Please open your eyes, Universal!

"The spectacular Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the id run rampant. You can't take your eyes off him!" (Hesher) - Peter Travers

"Kevin Kline gives a master class in acting. He finds every nuance of mirth and melancholy in this wonder of a role and rides it to glory. You can't take your eyes off him." (The Extra Man)

"Meryl Streep has never been this fierce, this diabolically funny - you can't take your eyes off her." (The Manchurian Candidate)

"Riveting. I couldn't take my eyes off it, my guess is that it will knock you sideways." (I'm Still Here)

"Raw and riveting. You can’t tear your eyes away from this explosion of sounds and images." (American Hardcore)

"A feast for the eyes and ears." (I’m Not There)

"Coppola works her magic again…Your eyes will be dazzled…" (Marie Antoinette)

"Hero was just a warm-up for this martial arts fireball that throws in a lyrical love story and countless other ravishments and dazzling surprises. Prepare your eyes for popping!" (House of Flying Daggers)

"Prepare your eyes for popping – they just might fly out of their sockets!" (300)

"… It’s something to see…I watched the movie and my eyes opened." (Tupac Resurrection)

Your turn, Universal. No Travers and no Hammond this summer on Larry Crowne, Cowboys & Aliens or The Change-Up. Deal?

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 05/14/11 02:05:35
last updated: 05/14/11 02:13:55
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