“Wife, Mother, Spy”?

First a bum Eloi trailer and now this — a Fair Game one-sheet that says nothing. What is Naomi Watts doing or thinking? What does her expression or stance imply? What is Sean Penn grinning about? This movie does something very icy and cool, trust me, and this poster doesn’t have the first clue what that thing is. (Poster swiped from Awards Daily.)

45 thoughts on ““Wife, Mother, Spy”?

  1. I’m not even kidding, this looks like it won 12th place in a “Photoshop a Movie Poster for a Movie That Doesn’t Exist” contest. Everything about it is pure amateur hour, especially the overuse of text.

    “Naomi Watts is Angelica Fair, Sean Penn is Alexander Game, in Wife. Mother. Spy.

  2. Jesus, William Baldwin got old quick.

    Crawford went blonde again? Ugh. And I see they just digitally erase her mole now.

    Yeah, I apologize in advance. It’s a lazy Saturday so you’re getting lazy Saturday, Henry Cho (anyone remember this guy? Lex?) – level “humor.”

  3. Regardless of the trailer or horrible poster, I will se this movie, seeing a movie with Sean Penn is always a great way to spend an evening.

  4. Absolutely every single thing about that poster is as terrible as it could possibly be.

    Right down to the “inspired by true events”, which somehow sounds even less real than just “inspired by a true story”.

  5. Wow, what an awful poster. They’re just sending this out to die, aren’t they? Why the hell is Sean Penn smiling in the background?

  6. Kakihara, if only. Charlie Wilson’s War grossed $119 million worldwide, the only political film of 2007 that didn’t flop.

  7. It also appears that they’re trying to cover up the fact that Penn is in it because he’s so polarizing. Penn is a huge draw for part of the country but a large majority of America would have to be dragged at gunpoint to see one of his films. At first glance you don’t even notice him up there in the corner.

    Jeff- Thanks for editing out my unnecessary apostrophe.

  8. I hate to be a D.Z. but since we’re on the topic of Penn has anyone seen him in his Robert Smith getup for a movie he’s shooting right now? He’s a retired rock star hunting down a Nazi war criminal. Sounds interesting but whether or not something like this works is entirely dependent on the tone. I’m guessing it will be Assassination of Richard Nixon/Taxi Driver-esque. Hopefully it’s not pure Oscar bait.


  9. I ask you (stay with me here) what film has ever NOT been “inspired by true events?” Hell, the Bush administration itself was “inspired by true events,” however perversely poetic and tenuous, while it dragged the dumbstruck country down the primrose path in a gunny sack and dumped it over a cliff into the quarry.

    EVERYTHING is “inspired by true events,” except maybe some aspects of popular theology and wingnut politics.

  10. Sincerely, this and the campaign for “The American” are kind of depressing; it’s as if the marketers are scared that there’s literally no audience out there for smart, adult thrillers, political or otherwise, so they pump these things up in misrepresentative way hoping not to die opening weekend. Rather dispiriting to see.

  11. It says,

    This is a movie from the recently-devised genre of “semi-interesting footnotes in American history” that was inspired by a story that liberals are obsessed over but the rest of America didn’t give a shit about while it was happening and damn sure doesn’t give a shit about now, and we know it.

  12. Ha! Usually I think people are overstating the case when they rant about how bad a poster is; And sometimes when Jeff is really pulling for a movie, he can be extra, extra harsh in nitpicking the marketing and tracking when it’s not looking like it’s gonna go his way…

    But this time? Holy shit, that poster is something else. I almost can’t believe it’s real, or not a joke cooked up by someone who actively hates the movie. And yet it’s a total, 50/50 tossup between which side is funnier. The silhouetted, goofy Penn, looking like David Kleinfeld mugging for his closing-credits roll call shot from something like PREDATOR or CON AIR, is the big laugh…

    But the Watts side is even weirder, just this nondescript pose with her hand doing something weird, and a look on her face like she’s vaguely invested in an episode of WIPEOUT while eating a quarter chicken meal from Boston Market.

  13. Glenn, at least The American is being marketed. I’ve seen both trailers for it multiple times this Summer, but I haven’t seen Fair Game’s trailer once in a theater.

  14. Don’t really see the penis…must be one of them Magic (Trouser) Eye thingies?

    Maybe it’s just you :P .

  15. The point is it was not a flop, even though it took a considerable risk being a dialogue-driven political comedy/period piece with almost no violence, so bad example. A better example would be Rendition.

  16. “Sincerely, this and the campaign for “The American” are kind of depressing”

    I would go one further, Glenn — I haven’t seen the ‘Fair Game’ trailer, but the trailer for ‘The American’ is so lame that it has to be actively turning people off. I acknowledge there’s a lot of good word of mouth, which makes me curious, but the trailer is so bad that it makes me feel like the word of mouth is just people appreciating it because it’s non-commercial, rather than because it’s good. (I apologize if that seems like an accusation, because it isn’t; merely a commentary on the trailer being so bad that it filters how I read the reviews for it.)

  17. Kaned – if I’m seeing it right, I don’t think Lex means that it looks like there’s a penis in the shot, just that his hand position, because of the pinky, looks like it would if there were a penis in it.

  18. Isn’t the real problem that FAIR GAME was tepidly received at Cannes and maybe there isn’t much to sell? This is the kind of movie that if it doesn’t have the critics, it doesn’t have an audience, even if Wells is in its corner. But, agreed, this poster’s not giving it much a chance.

  19. I guess so; I’m trying to decide if that makes what he said even more perverse.

    I guess if one has edited/subbed a lot of pornography perhaps it just becomes second-nature to pick up on certain poses/stances, which must kinda suck (*groan*).

    I mean, I have a pretty goddamn dirty mind, and it never really occurred to me that it was suggestive (although admittedly that likely has something to do with Penn’s goofy-ass expression here).

  20. I’ll admit that I didn’t see it. But, after Lex said it, I scrolled up and saw what he meant immediately. Penn’s face makes it all the funnier.

  21. Gordon: I dunno. I’m more turned off by Machete. I was expecting an extended version of the Grindhouse trailer, not a “talky” Billy Jack re-tread. The American looks like it delivers on the “girl and the gun” thing fairly well.

  22. Everybody just ignore DZ until Jeff has a chance to re-ban him. Nothing sadder than somebody who hangs out where they’ve been explicitly told they’re not wanted.

  23. On the bright side, all the ‘Scarecrow and Mrs. King’ fans out there just arched a collective eyebrow, intrigued. “Wife, mother, spy. You don’t say?”

  24. Yeah, Lex gets it. I picture Box in the 80′s cutting a swath through town that would make Danny Kaye envious. Somebody please tell me that was true. “I was the older brother in KUFFS!”

  25. Bukowski: Terrible, but I still laughed.

    And that’s TWO Kuffs references in the last week on HE; I would like to put forth that MILLA has never looked hotter than in the one-two punch of KUFFS and RETURN TO THE BLUE LAGOON.

    Okay, sorry, back to making fun of this ridiculous poster.

  26. Lame choice for a poster. You’d think it was a no-brainer that this kind of story oughta have the capitol building dome in the background, or maybe the white house, certainly the CIA’s logo.

    Something to give people some idea what the movie’s about.

    This poster looks like Sean Penn’s undressing Naomi with his eyes. And why the hell is the image plastered in text?

    Was it originally supposed to be a blank background and somebody decided last minute to put some graphics behind it?

    The poster as a whole kind of says, “From the Director of the Bourne Identity, Sean Penn and Naomi Watts are doing something, but don’t ask us what. All you need to know is it’s based on true events. We just won’t tell you which ones.”

  27. Remember folks: This is Summit Entertainment — the marketing geniuses there had zero clue how to distribute and market The Hurt Locker. The gods ultimately took over and somehow managed to salvage that. But they won’t have the same luck judging by the horrific trailer and this amazingly idiotic one-sheet.

    And why all the hate on The American? I think the trailer and, in particular, the one-sheet are classy and unique.

  28. Jay, the CIA logo is partially visible in the upper left hand corner, but because of how badly designed the sheet is, you have to almost squint to see it.

  29. “I’d like the poster a lot better if it said who was playing Richard Armitage.”

    Yeah, it’s almost as if the makers of this movie did their own research rather than just vomiting out right-wing talking points. Where’s the fun in that?

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