Home > poster art, previews > Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall

April 6th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Sarah Marshall poster Every time I set foot in the city, I tend to walk into another film or television show. By which I don’t mean that I see a lot of filming: I mean that the storyworlds of multiple films and shows are forever poaching on New York.

Recently, it’s the cool viral campaign for Forgetting Sarah Marshall that’s everywhere. Taxis announce “You DO look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall,” “My mom never liked you, Sarah Marshall,” and “I am SO over you, Sarah Marshall,” as do the sides of buses. Bus stands, meanwhile, add to the mix, large posters stating simply, “You suck, Sarah Marshall.”

It’s a really effective ad campaign, since it seems to capture the central mood of the film. The dire need to perform one’s dislike post-breakup, and to announce it to the world, so clearly labels itself as protesting too much, as a sad ploy of the broken heart. Moreover, while Sarah Marshall’s name needs to get into all the ads so that people will know what the ads are referring to, the repetition of her name has the side effect of sounding like an incantation from a guy who just can’t stop thinking about Sarah. It’s a cringe-worthy campaign, since it shows us Jason Segel’s character as hopelessly still in love and unable to deal with it maturely, yet we’ve all probably been there, right? All that’s different here is the scale, which invokes the other salient aspect of the film: that Sarah Marshall is a star. Telling all your friends that your ex sucks is one thing, but if she’s a star, so goes the rationale, you need to use taxis, bus stands, and so forth to get the message across. Meanwhile, that scale just blows up the emotion ten-fold for us, promising us a very identifiable emotional base to the film, but also a level of exaggeration and excess that will allow comfortable comic distance and cathartic pleasure.

My lone complaint, though, is that I sort of wish they would up the ante a bit and start tagging Sarah Marshall slogans in public places. In some sense, after all, it would all be more in-frame if the Segel character’s messages were scrawled in public washrooms, on building sides, etched into subway car windows, etc., than on expensive ads. Mind you, if Time Warner can get done for being would-be terrorists, I guess Universal might want to avoid being labeled as vandals.

I’m also intrigued that the film has a restricted trailer (in addition to a general one), thereby being one of the first films I’ve heard of to realize this loophole in the MPAA censorship of trailers.

Finally, too, it should be noted, the film has a strong blog entourage, with one supposedly from the Jason Segel character, another from a supposed fan defending Sarah Marshall, and – quite amusingly – it seems as though a real-life Sarah Marshall out there has tired of the site traffic to her www.sarahmarshall.com, and has thus dropped whatever else was there, replacing it with a photocopy of her (?) ass, and a counter acknowledging that I was the 18468th person to hate Sarah Marshall.

Tags: , ,

poster art, previews , ,

  1. Monica
    April 9th, 2008 at 13:26 | #1

    You might notice if you click on http://www.sarahmarshall.com that you are directed to an address within the University of Alabama system. Google tells me that the real life Sarah Marshall is an Asst Prof of Art/Printmaking at the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa; if you go to the department faculty page and click on the “faculty web page” link for Asst. Prof. Marshall, it also takes you to the photo of her ass. That’s kinda gutsy for untenured faculty (and way cool).

  2. Monica
    April 9th, 2008 at 13:27 | #2

    Correction, she’s an associate prof, but it’s still damn cool that it links from the department webpage.

  3. April 9th, 2008 at 13:29 | #3

    That solves the problem of what picture to use for one’s dept profile, no?

  1. No trackbacks yet.