Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Hello Joe, whaddya know?

Another week, another big-budget, would-be blockbuster being half-heartedly hawked by an indifferent star more famous for appearing in a state of undress. Last time it was PR liability Megan Fox, trying to concurrently promote and distance herself from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

This time around, there's another explosive popcorn-fest based on a popular range of toys, all that's changed is the gender of the star. Channing Tatum is a one-time Abercrombie & Fitch model who has managed to forge a reasonably successful acting career thanks to some moderately acceptable performances and the fact that he makes Greek gods feel insecure.

So here he is, headlining a smash-in-waiting, and the publicists manage to bag him a prominent cover feature with leading men's magazine GQ. So how does he talk up his latest opus, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra? He says "I hope it does OK." Brilliant.

The studio's marketing team must be absolutely cock-a-hoop at that glowing recommendation. If that's how excited he is about the biggest movie of his career to date, I can't wait for the DVD commentary - 100 minutes of grunting as Channing does a punishing regimen of ab-crunches, pausing occasionally to say "Oh yeah, I'm in this."

Still, Sienna Miller's no better. Despite the fact that no-one can recall anything she's ever done (other than Jude Law and Balthazar Getty), she confidently states "You know, GI Joe, it's not going to be the best acting work we've ever done." No Sienna possibly not. But going on your current form, it's the best chance you've ever had of actually being seen by a paying punter on the big screen.

They say any publicity is good publicity, and in the case of GI Joe it's probably the best they can hope for. After all, the film has been dogged with negative press for months. At one point the rumour mill reported that director Stephen Somers had been fired partway through filming. This is the man who gave us Van Helsing and The Mummy Returns, two films so bad that they're possibly in breach of the Geneva Convention.

Whatever happens, in a few short weeks we'll know whether this misfiring and underwhelming publicity campaign has worked or not. I imagine that the film's tagline is ringing in the marketing department's ears right now: "When All Else Fails, They Don't". We'll see.

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