What the campaign has going for it, though, is the sheer determination of Johnson. He’s a force of nature in more than a few ways and has a sizable following both as a wrestler and a movie star. He’s so damned committed to whatever he’s doing and seems to throw everything he has into not only the projects themselves but also their promotion. So while, based on the last few outings, audiences might be tiring of Hart’s schtick, Johnson is still a force to be reckoned with just in terms of sheer personality and charm.
If there’s one fault I can find with the campaign it’s that it plays up the Nemo angle pretty hard. And my concern is that the level to which it’s shown in the campaign isn’t representative of the movie as a whole, which could lead audiences to go in expecting lots more of Nemo and his dad but not get it. As usual, I don’t know what the reality is right now but there’s a palpable disparity between the desire to sell this as Dory’s story and the need to reassure audience that yes, Nemo is still around so don’t worry. If that character’s presence does wind up being out of proportion with his place in the marketing the movie will have to rely on whatever other charms it has to not be seen as disappointing by the audience.
The trailers, posters, site and even the publicity campaign all state upfront that this is the most ridiculous movie you’ll see all year. That was the theme of the festival-generate buzz and it’s the core tenet of the marketing from A24. And it does look both ridiculous and pretty attractive if you’re into offbeat movies. No, this isn’t going to attract the same sort of crowd that’s anxious to see Central Intelligence this week but for moviegoers who like a little crazy in their viewing and look forward to the offbeat selections that come out every now and again, a title this certainly seems to have earned.