Maggie’s Plan

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…Gerwig rightly is front and center here, bringing her unique charms and line reading ability to sell the movie as an offbeat, original story. If you’ve liked her in movies like Francis Ha, Mistress America and others you’ll likely dig what’s going on here and be attracted to this movie. Likewise if you’re just a fan of unique stories told from an original point of view. The movie looks an indie rom-com twist on the kind of story that usually involves people conspiring to keep a haul of stolen money secret, with Gerwig’s performance as the emotional anchor.

The Angry Birds Movie


…this is being sold directly to kids, which isn’t surprising. The campaign is full of butt jokes, violent pratfall “physical” humor and at least two jokes where the mime is the only one to speak in a crowd full of speechless birds. It looks funny enough but as with most kids’ movies it makes it clear to the audience that the sense of humor isn’t going to evolve above that of an eight year old and the kind of jokes they would find funny at school. I can’t fault them for taking that approach, but it doesn’t present something that looks very appealing at all to anyone not in the age group.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

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…what’s really being sold is a series of gags that call back to the first movie – see the airbag stunt – while presenting a new twist on that. It doesn’t need to work that hard at that, and it doesn’t. It just needs to show people that this is going to be a pretty enjoyable two hours at the movies and it accomplishes that goal. Strong trailers take the lead in the campaign, which should work well to bring out the audience.

The Nice Guys

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…what’s being sold here is an attitude, a vibe that looks to be unlike most anything that’s in theaters right now. That has potential benefits – it can stand out in a crowded marketplace and present a clear alternative for adults who need a break from comic book hero-on-hero violence – or it can come off as so foreign and unfamiliar that it fails to connect with that audience. We’ll have to see which way it goes but based on the word-of-mouth that’s been generated by the marketing I’d be surprised if this doesn’t become at least a modest hit.