It’s not exactly a secret that Bradley Cooper and Eric Dane play a gay couple in “Valentine’s Day.” Unless you’re watching the trailer.
Marketing for the movie, an everybody-in-the-pool romantic comedy opening Feb. 12, has conspicuously underplayed — OK, not played — the relationship between their characters. Dane is barely present in the trailers, which run the misdirection of having you suspect that Cooper and Julia Roberts — as his seatmate on a cross-country flight — are destined for one another.
New Line Studio, for its part, has said it wants the Cooper-Dane coupling to be a surprise for moviegoers. Unfortunately, the gay plot point is the worst kept secret on the web and has already been spoiled around the blogoshere. (Zap2it also now included in that mad spoiler list, so if you’ve reached this point in the article and are peeved at us then we apologize. The popcorn is on us.)
But we get that with a huge cast and a running time of just 90 minutes, “Valentine’s Day” isn’t going to devote a ton of screen time to any of its half-dozen or so love stories. And we also understand that the default position for a movie trailer is “misleading.”
But the scrubbing of the gay story line — as noted by The Frisky, Cinematical and others of late — from previews is being cited as a piece of a larger trend in which gay themes are downplayed in selling movies to audiences. Heck, it even happened with the trailer for “A Single Man,” which is about Colin Firth’s character mourning the loss of his lover, played by Matthew Goode.
Why does it happen? We have no idea, other than the to our minds outdated notion that gay = scary to a lot of people. Might some people be turned off by playing up (or even acknowledging) a gay story line in a big-studio rom-com? Sure. It happens. But we’d also bet that just about as many people would welcome it.
Photo credits: New Line