I was going over first trimester releases with an editor recently, hashing out some details on a compendium of film reviews, and Just Go With It came up. I stared at the text. Nothing. Was this a direct-to-video flick starring Hilary Duff? No, even those have more memorable titles these days, it turns out. I bore down, since the title clearly prescribed the film’s genre. Still nothing. Only two months removed, and I could absolutely not place it as the movie starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. (Or featuring Dave Matthews awkwardly squeezing a coconut between his legs, if you will.)
This is the curse of blandly innocuous movie-phrase titling — films that bear no particular or special relationship to their rah-rah moniker, which could be interchangeably used to describe a dozen or more other movies. Studios, which thrive on gimme-putt decision making, think they’re giving the masses what they want and making it easy for them when they tab pabulum as such, but in actuality they’re just making it more difficult for audiences to seek out their product in ancillary markets, removed from the blitz of opening weekend marketing. (Of course, sometimes, certain writer-directors also don’t help matters. I’m looking at you, James Brooks). Specificity and distinctiveness matters in a title, even when you’re just looking to lazily tap a demographic vein.