First of all, watch this fucking trailer for The Dilemma (as long as it’s posted) and tell me a gay joke is the worst thing going on here…
Okay, so while I’m more concerned by the fact that Kevin James continues to be successful despite molesting the very idea of comedy, there’s a controversy a’brewin around Ron Howard’s new pandering comedy, set to be released in 2011. While Universal claims that the trailer was shown to GLAAD and a number of internal gay employees to a “positive response,” the reception in the wider world has been much less accepting.
The trailer opens with Vince Vaughn pitching to a group of car executives and he makes a fairly terrible joke about electric cars being “gay.” The joke includes context that is obviously trying to be funny while also diffusing any offense that might be taken, but ultimately it’s a dumb line and it was a dumb way to start a dumb trailer. Message Boards, comments, and blogs caught on quick and Anderson Cooper even mentioned it in a segment on Ellen that covered bullying in schools.
In response, Universal is apparently ready to pull the trailer and modify it (no shit they will) but it’s unclear if the joke will be yanked from the film itself.
I don’t feel like a joke of this nature is ever really verboten, but it should have some kind of genuine value, actually be funny, or probably not be in the fucking trailer. Arguably a joke like this could say something about the immaturity of the character or have some other useful purpose, but the way it’s delivered in the trailer (the first thing we hear no less) is done for a cheap, lazy laugh, so I’m not going to go out of my way to defend it. The marketers should have known this was going to piss people off, and ultimately it is irresponsible to put more of the same tired, damaging verbal laziness that keeps the public dialogue so dumbed down in a trailer that’s going to be incessantly looping on TV and everywhere else. Amateur hour.