Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stamped, Flat

How bad off must you be when ripping off the American Pie franchise is your best hope at making a buck? But not even copying American Pie, exactly, but just trying to trick people into thinking that you've made

This past week, I've seen a few advertisements for a Wedding Daze, an irritatingly titled film starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher that I don't remember ever seeing in theaters, by which I mean that I never noticed even being advertised as being in theaters. I certainly wouldn't have paid to sit through it. From the looks of it, I'd guess that it's a storm of crap, despite the fact that it was written and directed by Michael Ian Black, who can on occasion be good. Wedding Daze's And IMDb page doesn't list a U.S. release date, so it seems plausible that Wedding Daze's upcoming DVD release might be its American debut. (Mark your calendars! And then shoot yourself!) Even more strangely, the IMDb page isn't for Wedding Daze, per se, but for The Pleasure of Your Company, which is irritating in a different way. Even more confusing: a third title, The First Girl I See is also listed.

In addition to the mystery of where the hell this movie came from or what it's called now, something about the commercials for it struck me as familiar, though I couldn't place why. Only today did I realize: the title font.

Does that look familiar? It should if you, like me attended high school during the post-slasher resurgence that was the teen movie resurgence. Think Ten Things I Hate About You, think She's All That, think...

Curious, no? It would seem like whoever got stuck having to market this movie is trying to piggyback on the success of the American Pie films, even though the third proper one ended with the main character — who just happens to be played by Jason Biggs — marrying Alyson Hannigan's character. Who knows? Maybe marrying Alyson Hannigan didn't take and now she's sought out Isla Fisher.

I wondered if maybe the same people or studio might have put out both Wedding Daze and the American Pie movies, but found that neither its production company, GreenStreet Films, nor any of the eight people credited as some type of producer seemed to be also involved with any American Pie. (Which makes sense, really. The American Pie movies made money.) Even the distributors are different: MGM for Wedding Daze, Universal for American Pie. But even more oddly was what I found while looking around for this info: promotional materials for Wedding Daze from what I'm guessing is it's theatrical run.

Red text, sure, but no distressed rubber stamp font, which seems strange. Why should the original promotional materials have one font and the DVD release another? The only answer I can think of is that this movie did so colossally poorly during its first run that its creators had no choice but to make it over in the fashion of the more successful American Pie movies in hopes that people would mistake it for one of them — after all, there's been no less than three separate spin-offs in the last three years — and waste money renting it. (Except for you now, you enlightened American Pie junkie, you.) Can this even be legal? Isn't this the movie marketing equivalent of putting a burger in a wrapper that has slightly misshapen golden arches on it and calling it McFonald's Fig Mac? Michael Ian Black, what have you done?

Also, if this snooping tickles your fancy at all, you should check out a You Thought We Wouldn't Notice, a site that makes it its business to point out when logos, art and general aesthetics are re-purposed in perhaps less-than-honest manners.

EDIT: I just noticed that the release date for this is listed on IMDb as 2006. The fact that it took more than a year for it to hit DVD does not bode well.

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