At a certain point in any truly famous actor's career, there comes a moment where that star's persona becomes so familiar that it reaches an event-horizon of self-parody. Of that phenomenon, there's probably no better example than John Malkovich, whose eccentric, volatile everyman was so distinctive that riffing on it got taken (and taken well) to feature-length levels with 1999's Being John Malkovich -- which, for him, really marked the point of no return. Honestly, is there anyone who can watch John Malkovich in anything without thinking of Being John Malkovich? Toss him in a movie, then, with the likes of Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis, and you've got a recipe for the kind of back-slapping silliness only Hollywood is capable of.
To be fair, this trailer is ridiculous, but it's also ridiculously awesome. And that really sums up its duality: Sure, it's bloated and self-congratulatory; yeah, it's basically a two-minute onslaught of absurdly stylized CGI explosions and retarded one-liners. But there's also a sly, bread-and-circuses wink embedded in the dumb: You're going to lap this shit up, America, but we're not really serious about it.
And Hollywood certainly can be clever when it comes to sending up itself, but this trailer in particular walks a fine, postmodern line: When you say "old man my ass" after blowing something up, John Malkovich, is that really a parody of a hackneyed one-liner, or is that just a hackneyed one-liner? It's hard to say, and the answer is probably somewhere in between, but at least one thing is certain: It's goofy as hell.
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