Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesday: Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

Bogie and Bacall.  Gable and Lombard.  Jay-Z and Beyonce.  And now...Franco and Shteyngart?  In this four-minute Super Funny Love Story, Gary Shteyngart and James Franco are a married couple clad in pink bathrobes who not only share the passion of "an erotic journey," they also share the livelihood of writing: Franco with his "50 Shades of Gary," and Shteyngart with his (actual and not-aptly-named) Little Failure.  The trailer moves from a marketing session for Shteyngart's new memoir at Random House to an intimate conversation with Shteyngart's "husband" Franco in which the actor-author reveals he's written his own memoir about their relationship.  The dejected Shteyngart finds no solace anywhere--neither from his psychiatrist (a surprisingly funny Jonathan Franzen) nor at a local coffee shop where everyone is reading Franco's "50 Shades."  Little mention is made of Little Failure's contents--in fact, it's almost beside the point.  A quick skim of the opening paragraphs to Shteyngart's new book reassures us he sustains the 3jpp (jokes per paragraph)--"On his first visit to Oberlin my father stood on a giant vagina painted in the middle of the quad by the campus lesbian, gay and bisexual organization, oblivious to the rising tide of hissing and camp around him, as he enumerated to me the differences between laser-jet and ink-jet printers, specifically the price points of the cartridges.  If I'm not mistaken, he thought he was standing on a peach."--so why bother going into all that when there's an equally-funny parody to be had here?  Shteyngart is firing a signal flare to all other authors: this is the book trailer to beat this season.  Clever, funny, self-deprecating and full of celebrity cameos (Alex Karpovsky, Rashida Jones, and Sloane Crosley, among others) the vid for Little Failure is yet another champion in what's becoming an annoyingly long string of successes for Shteyngart: Super Sad True Love Story #1 (also with James Franco) and Super Sad True Love Story #2 (this time with Paul Giamatti).  Hell, he could probably do a promo for A Field Guide to North American Mushrooms and make it super funny.  Who cares if the books are any good?  As long as the author keeps typing manuscripts in order to support these Funny or Die-worthy short films, I say, "Keep 'em coming!"  Shteyngart seems to have tapped into the secret sauce of book trailers: celebrities + self-loathing + jokey dialogue = x copies of books sold.  It goes something like this:

Shteyngart: "Little Failure?  After the hundreds of books I've sold for Random House!  After I've been translated into one language!"
Franco: "Canadian isn't a language, baby."

Back in the day, Dostoevsky and Turgenev probably could have learned a thing or two from Gary Shteyngart.

No comments:

Post a Comment