Sunday, February 08, 2009
He's Just Not That Into Baltimore
My wife dragged me kicking and screaming to see He’s Just Not That Into You this weekend. I actually don’t mind chick flicks, especially when they star Scarlett Johansson as a voluptuously predatory (to use a phrase from the WaPo review) aspiring singer/yoga instructor that sets her sights on a married Bradley Cooper (whom I am still so gay for). As a bonus, the movie is ostensibly set in Baltimore, but it’s clear that a vast majority of the film was shot on a Hollywood soundstage.
They tried to slip a few Bawlmer sights in when they could. One of the extravagantly trendy apartments these yuppies live in had a clear view of the Domino Sugar sign. Another window looked out over that waterfront high-rise building that looks like a spaceship landed on top of it.
The movie has a lot of little snippets where random people dispense relationship horror stories and advice. One had a guy standing on the Fells Point dock with the fireboat behind him. That said Baltimore to me. Another establishing shot had some characters walking down Thames (and it took me a few years to learn that ‘Thames’ rhymes with ‘James’ and starts like ‘Thane’) and walk into a bar that looks like it could be Coopers but had some other name in the movie. A few outdoor scenes were clearly shot on the marbled stepped streets of Baltimore, but others just screamed back lot.
The Baltimore Sun has a great article explaining that Baltimore was originally going to have a bigger part, but the budget wouldn’t allow that much location shooting or clearances. I guess Jennifer Anniston and Ben Affleck’s salaries chewed all that up.
Even the product placements were all over the map. For example, when Bradley starts hitting on ScarJo in the grocery store, he’s buying a six pack of Clipper City beer, but they walk outside and its some generic grocery store name that I’ve never heard of. The group of girls that the guys just aren’t into all work at World Spice Company, which at least acknowledges Baltimore’s heritage, but it just seems odd not to hear mention of McCormick.
At least it is nice to see Baltimore recognized as a real place. For a lot of movies that are set in Washington, DC, the film crews do a bunch of establishing shots of the monuments and then move up the B-W Parkway to film street scenes in cheaper and simpler Baltimore.
So Drew, Jennifer, and Scarlett, next time you film a movie set in Baltimore send more than the second unit. I’d be glad to show you around. Just leave Ben, Justin, and Kevin behind. But bring Bradley.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: How much of city should a movie show?