Every time I set foot in the city, I tend to walk into another film or television show. By which I donâ€™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, itâ€™s the cool viral campaign for Forgetting Sarah Marshall thatâ€™s everywhere. Taxis announce â€œYou DO look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall,â€ â€œMy mom never liked you, Sarah Marshall,â€ and â€œI am SO over you, Sarah Marshall,â€ as do the sides of buses. Bus stands, meanwhile, add to the mix, large posters stating simply, â€œYou suck, Sarah Marshall.â€
Itâ€™s a really effective ad campaign, since it seems to capture the central mood of the film. The dire need to perform oneâ€™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 Marshallâ€™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 canâ€™t stop thinking about Sarah. Itâ€™s a cringe-worthy campaign, since it shows us Jason Segelâ€™s character as hopelessly still in love and unable to deal with it maturely, yet weâ€™ve all probably been there, right? All thatâ€™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 sheâ€™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.
Iâ€™m also intrigued that the film has a restricted trailer (in addition to a general one), thereby being one of the first films Iâ€™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 â€“ quite amusingly â€“ 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: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, poster art, posters