The trailer for the slapstick, romantic comedy Hit & Run (2012) was, in my opinion, a “hit and miss.” I saw the movie in theatres and enjoyed it; however, I am glad that I watched the trailer afterwards as I believe it reveals far too much of the plot. Taking into consideration that I watch the trailer through a different lens from someone who has never seen the movie before, I can understand why other viewers may find the trailer compelling.
Romance, humor, and action are three emotions that the producers of the trailer elicit by using pathos. Pathos is a device that is utilized in order to persuade viewers of the trailer to go watch the movie. The opening scene of the trailer depicts a couple, actress Kristen Bell and actor Dax Shepard, laughing and kissing while in bed together. Romance is a key emotion that the viewer experiences from watching the trailer, which may appeal more to a female audience. On the other hand, action scenes may be strategically placed within the trailer in order to draw in a larger male audience to view the movie. The action scenes include images of men fighting, high-speed car chases, and gun shootings. These scenes give the trailer an element of excitement.
In the book, Everything’s An Argument, Andrea Lunsford says “make people be aware of how much they owe to others, and they’ll acknowledge that debt; persuade people to hate an enemy, and they’ll rally against it; help people to imagine suffering, and they’ll strive to relive it; make people feel secure or happy, and they’ll buy products that promise such good feelings” (41). In essence, the producers of the trailer can evoke certain emotions in its audience by using powerful images. In the Hit & Run trailer, the romance scenes will cause the female audience to want to fall in love with the movie’s characters and want to know more about their story, while the action scenes will also cause the male audience to get thrilled. Humor is the last element of pathos that is used in the trailer, which appeals to both male and female audiences. Most of the humor in the trailer includes sexual references, such as the elderly nude scene and references to intercourse within prisons. In my opinion, some of these references should have been left in the movie and not shown in the trailer. However, I also realize that placing these references in the trailer warns the viewers about the profanity they should expect if they go see the movie.
Ethos is another device used in the trailer. Bradley Cooper and Kristen Bell are two main actors in the movie, which both have reputations as successful actors who have been in some excellent comedies. Cooper’s performance in The Hangover (2009) awards this movie with great expectations, which draws in viewers to want to go and see the movie in theatres. Kristen Bell has also played a major role in the great comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), which has the similar type of humor as Hit & Run. The trailer also mentions that Hit & Run is “From the producers of Wedding Crashers.” Referencing Wedding Crashers and enhances the movie’s credibility even further. “Humor alone can’t establish credibility” (60), which is why referencing a successful film that shares the same producer reaffirms viewers that this movie will be worthwhile and will meet their highest expectations.
I believe that the trailer could be successful; however, I also think that cutting out some of the profanity could give the trailer more success.