Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) is doing alright in the new movie The Clapper, making a living in Los Angeles that may not be all that great but at least it’s not illegal. See, he’s a professional seat-filler for infomercials, scraping together a few bucks from producers who bring him in to ask leading questions of the hosts about the products being sold and applaud enthusiastically when their features are demonstrated.
Eddie has a crush on Judy (Amanda Seyfried), the pretty gas station attendant he flirts with all the time. Eventually he works up the nerve to ask her out. But just as that’s going well other things start to fall apart as a talk show host realizes he appears everywhere in a variety of disguises. So a quest to find “The Clapper” is underway in the press. Meanwhile, Eddie just wants to be left alone and not lose Judy, who has a hard time dealing with all the attention.
The poster sells the movie clearly as a romantic comedy of sorts, featuring photos of Helms and Seyfried that have been so touched up and the lighting so manipulated they look like Precious Moments figures. She looks at him adoringly while he’s looking off in the distance while the copy reads “How can you find each other when everyone is looking for you,” which offers no help whatsoever.
The first and only trailer is a bit rough. We meet Eddie and see what kind of life he’s leading, which is as a sad sack sort of frustrated individual who hangs around the fringes of the entertainment industry. He’s doing alright, but isn’t someone anyone would know. His regular interactions with Judy are the bright point of his life. That he can’t afford a fancy date doesn’t seem to bother her and we see them start to develop a relationship. But then things blow up when he becomes a public figure it seems to be too much for both of them and problems develop as neither of them is happy with the attention.
Let’s move past the 10+ years separating the ages of the two leads, where she’s of course the younger of the two. Let’s also move past the fact that his behavior of buying a little bit of gas more frequently is a bit stalkerish.
No, actually, I can’t move past either of those. This is just the kind of situation we keep hearing about these days, where the woman may have just said “yes” because she was concerned a “no” might have lead to violence. It’s not charming or funny, it’s creepy. That the trailer is poorly constructed and doesn’t present any sort of cohesive or attractive narrative is the afterthought, here.
Online and Social
No unique profiles were created by Momentum Pictures, and the studio didn’t even give it all that much attention on its brand channels, largely because it had Mom & Dad, a buzzy Nicholas Cage film, it was busy promoting.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve seen. Based on everything else, I’d be shocked if the studio engaged in any paid promotion for the film.
Media and Publicity
Not much here, either. Helms showed up on “The Late Late Show” but that’s about it, largely because he just did publicity for the dud that was Father Figures and he also has his new “Fake News” show he’s promoting.
Again, even just five years ago this kind of story might have seemed sweet and innocuous. Not now. So trying to sell a movie that’s positioned as a romantic comedy with such obvious creepiness – older guy won’t leave young woman alone and pressures her into a date – isn’t going to be as effective as it once was.
Everything about the campaign makes it seem like the kind of movie that, in 1992, you’d see a box for on the Blockbuster Video shelf and wonder when *that* came out and why *they* had made it. Based on the cheap, incoherent nature of the marketing it looks like Helms has another flop on his hands, each one diminishing his public stature and hurting the chances the next one catches on.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.
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