In this age of MPAA hypocrisy and marketing campaigns that tweak trailers for tone, you don't always get what you pay for at the movies -- or what you expect.

The MPAA saw fit to warn audiences that the PG-13 horror movie 'The Roommate' contains teen partying -- that social menace -- but not animal abuse, a move so cavalier in a movie so devoid of dimension that hardened horror lover (and friend to felines) Scott Weinberg walked out in a fury. As he wrote in his piece, Memo to the MPAA: Animal Cruelty Isn't Kids' Stuff, "In 'Roommate,' the kitten is sacrificed in stupidly mercenary fashion simply because the film has no humans worth caring about. Classy, eh?" A ratings system that punishes honest depictions of human sexuality with harsh ratings and lets kitty-killers slide isn't one I'd turn to for guidance, and it's unfortunate that many do, only because there's not a better system in place.

Audiences are also being misled by marketing campaigns that cherry-pick scenes with a certain tone that, woven together into a trailer, lead the viewer to believe they're off to see a feel-good flick or an average thriller when that's not what they're in for at all.

Take 'The Company Men,' for instance, with Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper. It's a drama about upper middle class business execs who are left floundering after they're all laid off. The knee-jerk reaction is, "Whatever, white dudes who make a lot of money lose their jobs and can't find new ones and have to cancel their membership to the country club -- wah!" The reality portrayed in the movie is actually quite moving and intense, with a nugget of hope held out at the end as a sort of peace offering. However, you'd be hard-pressed to guess that from the trailer's more light-hearted touch.
categories Cinematical