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Movie Marketing Madness: Search Party

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Look, you help your friends out, but it depends. There are friends who you’ll lend $12 bucks to, no problem. There are friends you’ll help move but they better be there for you when you need something as well. Then there are those friends who are on another level. These are the ones where there’s the implicit understanding that if a body needs to be disposed of, you’re the one they call. There’s a better than even chance when they get together that the two will wind up waking up finding you’re missing a sock and having adopted a chicken as a comfort animal. You know what I’m talking about.

The new movie Search Party is about a similar situation. Nardo (Thomas Middleditch) is about to marry Tracy (Shannon Woodward), but he confesses some cold feet to his buddies Jason (T.J. Miller) and Evan (Adam Pally). Jason blurts that out during the ceremony, causing Tracy to bolt. When Nardo tries to follow her when she heads to Mexico he gets caught up in all sorts of problems and calls Jason and Evan to help him out. Of course this is like calling a pyromaniac to put out a fire and the antics only get ramped up from there.

The Posters

The movie is a middle-brow comedy but the poster sells it as something out of the Charles Bronson-esque 1970s or 80s. Middleitch is naked in the middle of the design, running toward the camera with a shocked, bewildered look on his face. Behind him are Miller and Pally, each wielding some sort of firearm and with that crazed, action hero look on their face. A blazing fireball encompasses all of them and this is all set in the desert. At the bottom the copy tells us to “Leave no bro behind.”

All of that adds up to selling the movie as something ridiculous, which is very much the point. The crazed look in all their eyes and the over-the-top nature of the whole thing makes it clear that there’s something insane going on here.

The Trailers

The first trailer sets up the story by immediately throwing us into the premise, with Nardo naked and alone in Mexico and desperately seeking the help of his friends who put him in that situation. Seems Jason screwed up Nardo’s wedding to Tracy – at the alter, no less – and after she stormed out he went to try and talk to her. But he got carjacked and tuxedo-jacked and mixed up in the drug operation of a couple very bad people. But on their way to help him Nardo and Evan take a side trip to Vegas, where Evan runs into some organ-harvesters and it all just goes very, very badly.

It’s funny and all that but it does look more than a little thin. This will mostly be attractive to those who are fans of the three leads already and their work on “Silicon Valley,” “Happy Endings” and so on. It’s not bad, but it may be a case where the movie just doesn’t trailer well.

A red-band trailer was up next that hits most of the same notes, just with a bit more drug use and overt profanity.

Online and Social

The official website is pretty simple and barebones but at least it’s there. Either by navigating via the menu on the left or just scrolling down you can check out the “Trailer,” view a “Story” synopsis and see the “Cast” and “Crew” lists.

Search Party Movie

There were no social profiles for the movie itself so it had to share the space on Focus World’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. On them the studio shared some promotional character-centric images, some countdown videos and a clip or two from the movie.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I saw or was otherwise aware of.

Media and Publicity

Again, nothing really here. Most of the press seems to have been generated by the release of marketing materials and clips. Not completely surprising since the movie has sat on the shelf for a couple years, but still…

Overall

I like some of what’s going on here, but it’s not a strong overall campaign. A lot of it seems to rely heavily on this being another pairing of Middleitch and Miller, who costar on “Silicon Valley” as well, which makes a lot of sense. But it also then doesn’t do a whole lot to convey the charm and humor of those two in a way that effectively sells the movie. Miller was more effective in the trailer for Deadpool, in which he presumably has a small role, than here where he’s one of the two leads.

But if you want to see a stupid, nonsensical brotastic comedy with a bunch of actors you kind of like from that other thing you know them from then it may be worth your on-demand dollar to check it out. These guys are funny and the supporting cast of Alison Brie, Jason Mantzoukas and Krysten Ritter are always solid as well. Basically this looks like a loose idea of a story around which a bunch of friends got together to make a movie. That can be amusing some of the time and here’s hoping this is one of them.

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