Has ‘Hit & Run’ Advertising Misstepped With Outlandish Critic Quotes?

“INSANELY FUNNY! THE BEST COMEDY OF THE YEAR!”

“BRADLEY COOPER IS RIDICULOUSLY HILARIOUS!”

“DAX SHEPARD & KRISTEN BELL ARE MAGIC.”

“IT’S FUNNIER THAN THE HANGOVER AND BRIDESMAIDS COMBINED.”

No, these aren’t Earl Dittman quotes. These are the critic quotes seen on the poster and television advertisements for Dax Shepard’s and Kristen Bell’s (and Bradley Cooper’s cause he’s got the biggest name even though he’s not the star of the film) new flick Hit & Run, which hits (and then probably soon to run from) theaters today, August 22, 2012. If you break out your magnifying glass you’ll find the small print attributes these quotes to a Chapin Young of MySpace. It stinks of desperation. The Hangover and Bridesmaids comparison is especially pathetic, it’s clearly designed to make you think of Bradley Cooper. I wonder if he agrees. Not only are these quote-whorish lines very generic, but they raise the audience expectations to such a high bar that Hit & Run has no chance of delivering on. In fact I’ve read a few other critic reviews that call out these quotes and use them against the flick. Just having MySpace on a poster seems to bring along some sort of stigma all on its own.

Earl Dittman

Getting back to our Earl Dittman comparison here, if you remember in the early-mid 2000’s Dittman wrote rave reviews for some of that decades worst movies. This landed him on posters and DVD covers as he was the only critic the studios could quote for their crap films. Around this same time Sony created their fictitious critic David Manning so they could consistently have good reviews to source quotes from. The poor job of sourcing quotes created a backlash (which Sony had to actually pay money for in an out of court settlement) and audiences began to distrust critics and the studios when it came to promotional quotes. Now Earl Dittman is a real person, and so is Chapin Young. She did indeed work at MySpace, but never wrote a review for Hit & Run, or at least it was never published on the site. Further investigation turned up no review or article by Chapin Young on the Internet at all from which these quotes were sourced. This is much like Earl Dittman’s quotes, which were sourced form his pamphlet like magazine Wireless Magazine which was distributed to some theaters making the reviews themselves very hard to find.

Without the full review there’s no support for these lines, and perhaps that’s because these quotes can’t be supported easily. That plus the incredibly small attribution text (I had to pause the TV spot and walk up to within a few feet of a 65″ television just to make it out) to a critic from MySpace undermine the advertisements themselves. It’s sad really that anyone felt they had to take these steps to fill theaters, both Dax and Kristen along with others from the cast have worked very hard on getting the word out on this, but these horribly cheesy quotes have cheapened the whole affair.

I’ve been in contact with the producers and publicity for the distributor Open Road Films, neither of which have been fruitful in figuring out how these quotes from a nonexistent review came about ending up all over the advertisements for Hit & Run. I’ve also tried to contact Chapin Young, but have been unsuccessful. If anyone involved can clear this up for me, please contact me.

This all comes to the question are these overly kind reviews of widely panned movies done on purpose by these critics? Some would say yes, and in the case of Dittman-esque critics, have crowned them with the title quote whores. Sure there are a lot of stupid consumers out there that will get tricked by these one-liners. Just look at the back of any Asylum (the best at tricking people to watch their flicks) direct to DVD box. There you’ll find an amazing quote attributed to no one, so at least they’re somewhat honest about their trickery. Still most people that choose to watch a flick because it’s purported to be the “best movie of the year” by advertising controlled by the people who want you to see it will most likely be let down. And in many ways this type of advertising will get bites, but it will almost always sour the people on the hook.

Do these quotes make you want to see the movie?