"Tropic Thunder" is a fun flick, one that's proven worthy of repeat viewings since its 2008 release. But the Ben Stiller-Jack Black-Robert Downey Jr. comedy peaks early – near the beginning, in fact, during the fake-trailer sequences (remember "Simple Jack" and "The Fatties?").
Stiller is betting wisely that there's more humor to be mined from parody previews. Deadline reports the actor/filmmaker's Red Hour Digital is enlisting talent that includes Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant ("Reno 911!," "Night at the Museum") and Amy Heckerling ("Clueless," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High") to create a dozen fake trailers for a new web series.
"Tropic Thunder" aside, the Internet is the natural home of the fake-preview genre, whether it's DIY efforts by movie fans (the recent video lampooning the trailer for Adam Sandler’s upcoming “Jack and Jill” is a meta mini-masterpiece) or slicker productions by better-known folks (we’re still laughing over last month’s NFL lockout spoof, “Field of Dreams 2,” starring Taylor Lautner and other familiar faces). Short, funny – and delivered in a familiar form – works well on the Internet, helping make bogus trailers one of our favorite time sucks.
We've been getting a kick out lately of a new batch, including Jimmy Kimmel's promo for a sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth," based on Al Gore's expletive-laden speech last week decrying global warming deniers. The latest "Seinfeld"-inspired trailer – a corporate-revenge drama called, "Vandelay Industries," in which old clips are re-edited to show George out for blood, debuted on YouTube this week. Eight faux previews are packed into one minute, 42 seconds in a new Funny or Die video featuring remakes of classic testosterone-fueled films with women in the starring roles (Among the movies: "The Godmother," "Dirty Mary," and, our favorite, "Scarf Face").
It's only a matter of time before a fake trailer gets turned into a real movie. Meanwhile, check out some fun recent offerings below:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.