God, I Hate This Ad Campaign

by robbiefreeling
August 7, 2008 7:31 AM
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Nothing this summer (not the Oscar-prognosticating-cum-corpse-picking over Heath Ledger; not the morally bankrupt "balletics" of Angelina Jolie's latest garbage-fest, Wanted; not even Will Smith's "homo"-baiting jokes in Hancock) has rumped by hump more than the ad campaign for that film that I probably won't see, American Teen. Effective though it may have been in getting some major media attention for a, gasp, documentary, the Breakfast Club evoking poster and trailer for Nanette Burstein's year-in-the-life look at a group of Indiana high-schoolers savvily, shamelessly, shamefully locks each of its five participants into types designated by John Hughes's "classic" so many years ago. Not only does this give actual cultural credence to Hughes's generalizations (and in all fairness such easily accessible people-filing is the provenance of comedy), but it also reduced real, actual, unformed humans to nothing more than pop-culturally generated categories. Well, we have the "princess," the "jock," the "geek," the "heartthrob," and the "rebel." (For the record, if we're being reductionist I believe the "heartthrob" and the "jock" in The Breakfast Club and often in real life, are the same person...but hey). It also appears from the trailer that the "rebel" (who looks about as out-of-the-mainstream as Juno) and the "heartthrob" meet up and start dating—could such a fortuitous set of circumstances have occurred perhaps because, oh, I don't know, a camera is following them around everywhere they go? (More minus points: where's the "gay"....oh, I mean the "outcast"? ) Insert reference to The Hills here to talk about the not-very-interesting merging of real life and fictional teen drama, and you can give American Teen some bogus analytical heft. Pandering to the eternally high-school rutted American mentality, the rules of which products like these culturally sanction as inextricable facts of life, the ad campaign for American Teen (and, ugh, that title), only further glamorizes a time of life we all really need to fucking forget about already.

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More: dear god why?


  • Ciccina | August 15, 2008 5:03 AMReply

    Ugh. Nice to see they updated the Breakfast Club paradigm by (1) eliminating the male "brain"; (2) changing the unpretty female outsider to ordinary-looking male hoodie; and (3) creating a female "rebel" who differs from "the princess" only in that she wears a dark sweater and hasn't lightened her hair.

    Reflects our times perfectly: male intellectualism is devalued; rebellion is signified by a fashion accessory (not getting highlights, a driving glove); and, particularly for the ladies, if you aren't pretty you might as well not exist.

  • MovieMan0283 | August 11, 2008 6:54 AMReply

    Are those the actual kids they dressed up for the ad campaign? Somewhere, Frederick Wiseman is crying.

  • Mark Asch | August 8, 2008 8:46 AMReply

    Perhaps equally abhorrent, in a less specific way, are the posters plastered with a pullquote from some online junket whore: "Funnier than Napoleon Dynamite, more touching than Juno, and may even be a better movie than The Breakfast Club." (Please god let me not have actually memorized that verbatim.) Reached for comment, Peter fucking Travers was like, wow, you know that there's a difference between a film review and ad copy, right?