I always thought the pinnacle of desperation was simply making up a critic and attributing lavish quotes to him, as Sony did with "David Manning" in 2000. Now I see that there's a way to go even lower: For its new cross-Canada motorcycle drama One Week, distributor Mongrel Media is quoting random YouTube users. And not just random YouTube users, but random YouTube users who have only seen the film's trailer, not the movie itself.
The film stars Joshua Jackson, who is certifiably Canadian and thus qualified to appear in a movie dedicated to the wonder and majesty of the Great White North. But either none of the critics were kind enough, or else Mongrel didn't want to take its chances showing it to them, because the full-page ad in Toronto's Eye Weekly consists of nothing but quotes from YouTube commenters who liked the trailer and expressed a desire to see the film. The raves include gems such as these:
"I am definitely going to watch this" -- Puttydutty123
"Beautiful, I love Josh" -- Annatorvian
"Hope the weather is nice so I can ride my Norton to the theatre!" -- Aidanchick
"Puttydutty123" is evidently the Roger Ebert of anonymous YouTube users, because he/she is quoted twice in the ad, once as already mentioned, and also in huge letters across the top: "This movie looks amazing! Cannot wait to see it!!" I hope Puttydutty123 is keeping a scrapbook of all his/her media clippings!
What I'm trying to figure out is whether the distributor knows this is lame and is doing it ironically, or if this really is the best idea they could come up with to promote the film. I mean, do they even have irony in Canada? If the movie were about the Internet, I could see quoting YouTube comments in the ads as a little meta-joke. But this is about motorcycles, or road trips, or Dawson's Creek, or some damn thing. I don't see a YouTube connection.
All the ad ultimately says is that many people have, in fact, watched the trailer online and subsequently expressed interest in seeing the movie. In other words: "Come see the film that dozens of other people have indicated they would also like to see!" That's not really a ringing endorsement. On the other hand, at least they didn't quote Ben Lyons.
Thanks to Torontoist, via Best Week Ever, for bringing this to our attention. And to our Canadian readers, please let us know how the film is now that it's opened (assuming the weather is nice enough to ride your Norton to the theater, that is).
Follow me on Twitter.