We watch a lot of movie trailers here at ScreenCrave, and, as we inch closer to summer with its ever-increasing torrent of new films, we’re seeing more and more previews with each passing day. As we do so, we can’t help but notice some similarities, repetitions, and clichés among them. Here at Trailer Park, we’ll be offering a rundown of those clichés, where they come from, and which trailers share them. For our first installment, we’ll be breaking down one of summer’s most ever-present previews: The Chick Flick Movie Trailer.
This is the general reaction after watching chick flick trailers: “Oh no, not another boring formulaic chick flick!” At this point, women must hate chick flicks as much as men do. Women, no matter how successful, always have to be shown being the biggest dummies about relationships. Chick flicks are loaded with clichés of makeover montages, gay friends, butt jokes, etc. We don’t really need to watch the actual movie at this point because the trailer shows us that we’ve seen this movie before, just with different faces (and sometimes the same faces). Here’s a list of 10 Clichés we see in Chick Flick Movie Trailers.
10. Makeover Montage
Used in: 13 Going On 30 (2004), The Princess Diaries (2001), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), The House Bunny (2008), Clueless (1995), The Clique (2008), Easy A (2010)
The movie makeover montage is still a living and breathing cliché. I’ll admit that’s it’s always fun to see someone go from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, but it’s tired. The makeover montage needs to be reinvented because it’s always done in the same manner and to the same nerdy, dull looking character.
As Seen In: The Princess Diaries
9. Jokes About Being Single
Used In: Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), 27 Dresses (2007), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), The First Wives Club (1996), He’s Just Not That Into You (2010), Bridesmaids (2011), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
It doesn’t matter if you own your own business or graduated from law school, if you’re single, the jokes will keep on coming. Take the trailer for Bridesmaids, as good as the movie may be, the trailer exhausts the fact that Kristen Wigg‘s characters is such a loser because she’s single.
As Seen In: Bridesmaids
8. Supportive Gay Friends
Used in: He’s Just Not That Into You (2010), Mean Girls (2004), Easy A (2010), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1994), Sex and the City 2 (2010)
From Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding to Emma Stone in Easy A, most chick flicks include a gay best friend. What’s unfortunate is that they are usually flat, secondary characters who’ve taken over the role of the sassy or quirky best friend.
As Seen In: Sex and the City 2
7. Butt Jokes
Used in: Sleepless In Seattle (1993), Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen (2004), She’s The Man (2006), Thelma And Louise (2006)
Oh, women and their butt jokes. No, men aren’t the only ones who do it, ladies love to stare right back and chick flick trailers love to showcase a nice round butt with a closeup.
As Seen In: Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen
6. Single & Happy
Used in: Happy-Go-Lucky (2000), 27 Dresses (2007), Never Been Kissed (2008), The Holiday (1996)
Most chick flick trailers start out by letting us know that the female protagonist is both single and happy. The Happy-Go-Lucky trailer is a perfect example of this because we see Poppy cheerful at work and very optimistic about life, but then she’s asked about her love life. The idea rapidly starts to build in our heads that Poppy can’t really be happy because she’s a single girl.
As Seen In: Happy-Go-Lucky
5. Sing-Along (And Into Combs)
Used In: My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), The First Wives Club (1996), Riding In Cars With Boys (2001), 13 Going On 30 (2004), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Stepmom (1998), Mama Mia! (2008)
Sometimes the singing involves random objects like combs and home telephones, but mostly women are just shown singing. A moment like this is immediately a turn off because it’s been used so many times.
As Heard In: Stepmom
4. Pratfalls & Other Clumsy Things
Used In: In Her Shoes (2005), (2003), The First Wives Club (1996), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1996), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2005), Twilight (2008), The Princess Diaries (2001), Whip It! (2009)
It wouldn’t be a chick flick without chicks falling, now would it? Everyone knows that chick flicks are formulaic and insanely similar these days, but why doesn’t anyone reinvent the genre or at least the trailer? We always see at least one moment of women falling off a trees, running into windows or falling into a trashcan. I don’t remember Audrey Hepburn falling in Breakfast At Tiffany’s or Sharon Tate getting hit in Valley of the Dolls (and she was a dummy).
As Seen In: In Her Shoes
3. Elderly Folks Saying Inappropriate Things
Used In: Easy A (2010), 50 First Dates (2004), The Proposal (2009), 27 Dresses (2007)
Old folks are used to fill in those inappropriate remarks that peer friends wouldn’t dare say, like telling you your boobs are too small or your butt is too big. They also love sharing stories about their youth, letting you know that they were once young, wild and free.
As Seen/Heard In: The Proposal
2. Getting Drunk
Used In: It’s Complicated (2009), The First Wives Club (1996), 27 Dresses (2007), The Accidental Husband (2008), Labor Pains (2009), 13 Going On 30 (2004)
The misery of being single makes women get drunk and act like fools (because women only get drunk when they’re depressed… not!). In trailers, we’re shown a glimpse of women bonding with their friends over cocktails, acting all crazy and obsessing about their ex-husbands/boyfriends. Once we see the actual movie, we see that these women are a lot more than just drunken dummies, but in the trailer this is what is chosen to be shown.
As Seen In: 27 Dresses
1. Too Sexy For A Shirt
Used In: She’s The Man (2006), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), The Proposal (2009), Twilight: New Moon (2009), Love Wedding Marriage (2011), Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
I don’t know about you, but I seldom run into shirtless men (maybe at the gym or the beach). Chick flicks, however, make it seem like women are living in a universe where men are always walking around shirtless, and they’re sort of idiots about it. It’s like their brain stops working because a six pack is in front of them.
As Seen In: Twilight: New Moon
These are just a few of the clichés we find in chick flick trailers. Feel free to contribute your own!
What are some of the clichés you see? And which do you think should disappear?