Poster Lab: What to Expect When You’re Expecting

So, apparently David Lynch has added film promotion to his post-Inland Empire activities.

Poster Lab: What to Expect When You're Expecting

So, apparently David Lynch has added film promotion to his post-Inland Empire activities. How else to explain the certifiable smiling faces and wacko-subversive quotes in the character posters above? The marketing campaign for What to Expect When You’re Expecting reads like The Stepford Wives by way of Twin Peaks—soulless, soon-to-be mommy-bots with naughty, rattle-the-picket-fence speech bubbles. It’s a wonder there isn’t a severed ear resting on Elizabeth Banks’s sofa. Based on a self-help book, a la He’s Just Not That Into You, What to Expect is a yet another indicator of just how desperate Hollywood is to peddle known brands, even if nobody has a clue about how to sell them. Barring the Lynch theory, it’s pretty obvious what happened here: a photo crew got busy with the backdrops, basketballs, and airbrushing, while a “hip and young” writing team started digging through their Someecards. Put ‘em together and whaddaya got? Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Bipolar posters.

The only one-sheet that doesn’t seem looney-bin-ish is that which features Jennifer Lopez in a little ethnic switcheroo: the non-white character adopting from abroad (“I can’t wait to meet my baby,” it reads). Otherwise, the images are peppered with crass blurbs hovering over the baby bumps, like Anna Kendrick’s “You pee on a stick; it’s pretty idiot-proof,” and Elizabeth Banks’s “I’m calling bull$#!%; pregnancy sucks.” Speaking of calling bullshit (or of things sucking, for that matter), it’s rather incredible that no one bothered to acknowledge the wild mismatching of these potty-mouthed contempo sentiments with their assigned sources, and instead just expected the public to devour the ads like pickles and ice cream. And since they brought up “idiot-proof”, it’s pretty clear that the folks at Lionsgate think the consumption of poster art is a process as pedestrian as a home pregnancy test.

“If I knew I’d have a rack like this, I would’ve gotten knocked up years ago,” says Cameron Diaz, typecast as the cynical bombshell bound to love her baby only when it’s out from between her legs. As Sal Cinquemani noted in his takedown of Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” this is a classic case of media makers cluelessly injecting punchy slang “because, you know, that’s how the kids talk now.” And since every movie needs to be targeted to the 16 and Pregnant set, even one “adapted” from a bun-in-the-oven tutorial they’ve likely never laid eyes on, the sanctity of child-carrying has been slathered with the same transparent crudeness offered in promos for Adam Sandler’s latest travesty. What to expect from What to Expect? In all likelihood, just another star-packed giggler for the garbage heap. But judging from these posters, the trash will come with screws loose and eyes wide, high on hormones and nutjob ignorance.

R. Kurt Osenlund

R. Kurt Osenlund is a creative director and account supervisor at Mark Allen & Co. He is the former editor of Out magazine.

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