Jason Tseng

"Valentine's Day" - A Day in the Life of (Hetero) Love

Filed By Jason Tseng | February 12, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: brad cooper, eric dane, julia roberts, LGBT, marketing, movies, Valentine's Day

I consider my movie tastes pretty eclectic. And by eclectic, I mean a thinly veiled attempt at justifying my undying passion for sappy romantic comedies and teenage chick flicks. I watched Ever After on a loop for about two weeks, just saying. So when I heard about the celebrity clusterfr@k that is the newly released (as of today) annual V-day romantic comedy, the subtly and oh-so-cleverly titled, Valentine's Day (I swear to god, some Marketing valentines_day.jpgExec just gave up and threw his hands in the air and let the campaign out the door. Either that or he's possibly the best surreal Dadaist performance artist this decade has ever known), I was ready to start logging onto Fandango for my tickets.

But aside from the obvious eye-rolling that was sure to ensue from the heavy-handed marketing campaign, the film's been getting a lot of flack from the blogosphere for its blatant "de-gaying." Evidently the ever dreamy McSteamy aka Eric Dane is featured as one half of a gay couple, opposite my personal Hollywood crush, Bradley Cooper. However, from all the promotional materials from the movie poster to the trailer, you wouldn't be able to tell. Eric Dane doesn't even make an appearance on the movie poster, and he's in the film's trailer for about 1.78 seconds. A classic case of hide-the-gay in American marketing.

On top of that, the trailer seems to position Bradley Cooper's character as the boyfriend of Julia Roberts. While I'm glad the gigantic-mouthed actress is getting work, it's clear that she's not Cooper's girlfriend, but his hag-fag/fruit fly/flame dame/vent wench/whathaveyou. While I guess it kind of makes sense for Dane's character (the closeted football playing boyfriend to Cooper's omg-grlfriend! out and proud self) to be tucked away in the closet of the film's marketing campaign, all things considered. But you have wonder who made the call to de-gay the film.

Come on guys, it's 2010, not 1990. We don't have to go out of our way to heteronormatize a film that from the looks of it, is approximately 7% gay. Am I going to see it? Probably. Will I likely be let down by the positively puritanical gay content that will likely feature all of 1.5 gay kisses, 5 gay passionate eye locking, and 0 gay love scenes? Yes. But any chance to see McSteamy get McSSSSibilant S-teamy is one I am nought to miss.

A final note: The film's second trailer is less blatantly de-homo-ing than the first as it lists Cooper and Dane right after each other, and they use a Mika song at the beginning. Oh, but Mika's still technically not talking about that.

Trailers below:

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Actually, I read yesterday (somewhere) that they the gay romance is part of a spoiler ending and that's why it's not in the marketing, and that it was done very tenderly.

Yeah, it was thoroughly offensive.

If you can't afford the gay characters the same dignity as heterosexuals, don't even fucking bother with including them.

Poorly implemented gay storylines is more aggravating to me than no storyline at all.

Unfortunately, the gay content in the movie is actually more puritanical than "all of 1.5 gay kisses, 5 gay passionate eye locking, and 0 gay love scenes." It was still one of the most real and tender storylines in the movie, and Dane's character is pretty much the only one in the movie who risks something real for love. However, the loud homophobic reaction of the audience when the gay relationship was revealed overwhelmed any positive feelings the puritanical content still gave me. I went into the movie with my pessimistic side expecting such a reaction, but it was still worse than I expected--even if the de-gaying of the trailer wasn't a cynical ploy to make money, obviously slowly easing the audience into a de-sexed gay relationship (even if the intent was earnestly to make the audience more accepting) doesn't make them any less homophobic.

"Say Anything" - it's got to be my all-time favorite gay romance.

I've been seeing ads for this in paris, which is rare since films usually come out a month or two later here. Thanks for posting on this, Jason.