Last night, a ravening crowd of <I>A.V. Club</i> freeloaders descended on a Chicago sneak preview of Judd Apatow's <I>Funny People</i>, filling up a whole theater row with staffers, significant others, and skepticism. Especially since before the film, we were subjected to a trailer for the sorry-looking comedy <I>Couples Retreat</I>, starring Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell as feuding spouses who haul a bunch of their coupled-up friends along to a fancy-schmancy relationship-workshop resort. The other couples all think they're just getting a tropical vacation, but then things! Get! Wacky!
I didn't really laugh at the trailer, but I did laugh this morning when I had to check the spelling of the title (no apostrophe, huh? Is that a grevious punctuation error, or an indication that the title should be taken as a command instead of a specific noun? "Couples, retreat!") and I got my first look at the movie poster.
Watching that trailer, it seems like Faizon Love and Kali Hawk as the black couple have pretty much the same roles as the three white couples, which is to say their characters are all equal buddies who hang out together, and they all get humiliated together both as characters and as actors, via a series of awkward hijinks. There's no sense in the trailer that they're hyper-marginalized characters thrown in as token stabs at diversity. Looking at the poster, though… is that them, or just a vague smudge in the background? Is there some sort of assumption here that African-Americans in a trailer are a draw for potential audiences, but in a poster, they'll scare people off? Because Love and Hawk would have more presence here if they were Photoshopped back out, and an image of a Post-It appeared in a corner of the poster, with a handwritten note: "Also in film: black people."