The Long Dumb Road, from writer/director Hannah Fidell, doesn’t have a wholly outrageous idea as its premise as it’s basically a road trip comedy. Tony Revolori stars as Nathan, who’s having a bad day already when car trouble brings him in contact with recently-fired mechanic Richard (Jason Mantzoukas).
What starts out as a simple ride turns into long and winding trip for the two as they seek to teach each other some lessons about how to cope with the ups and downs of life in ways both constructive and less so.
Both leads are shown on the first poster, the pair sitting on a car hood while the copy tells us “S*&t got weird” on the trip covered by the story.
Richard is being fired as the trailer opens, but thankfully he immediately encounters Nathan, who’s having car troubles. In exchange for the repairs, Nathan agrees to give Richard a lift but it becomes clear the two are very different. Richard opens Nathan’s perspective up to all kinds of experiences, from meeting women to taking more chances with his life in general. The two get up to all sorts of hijinks on their impromptu road trip.
There are probably some lessons learned by Richard as well, but they’re not part of what’s being sold here. Instead it’s all about how outrageous Mantzoukas is and the kinds of situations his character can bluster himself out of while providing some guidance for the more sheltered Nathan.
Online and Social
It’s a surprisingly robust official website that’s been created by Universal and The Film Arcade. The trailer opens the site and when that’s done you have the option of finding a VOD platform on which to buy the film directly or get tickets to a nearby showing. Along with that there’s a “Synopsis,” “Cast & Crew” bios and a roundup of links to press interviews and reviews. There are also links to the movie’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve seen, but I can imagine some local online advertising was done in areas hosting early release and screenings and I’m sure some ads have pointed to VOD links.
Media and Publicity
While the movie debuted at Sundance to relatively positive reviews and word of mouth it was a few months before it was acquired by Universal for a day-and-date release. The cast and crew were at Sundance to talk about the story and what they wanted to convey as well as what attracted each one to the project. It was later added to the lineup of the Austin Film Festival.
Closer to release the cast and crew talked about this movie’s place in the road trip genre and participated in local screenings and Q&As to get people interested. Fidell and Revolori were interviewed about the “buddy” genre as well.
Fidell also covered how this story started out as a short film she wrote and directed two years ago.
It’s not a big or hugely inventive campaign, but it doesn’t claim to be anything more than what it is, which is a charming road trip movie featuring two charming and often-underused actors. It would have been nice to have seen Fidell get a bit more attention from the bigger trade press, but that’s a small quibble.