For, Friday, May 8, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Citing ‘Striptease’ and ‘The Nutty Professor’ as primary examples, my June 30, 1996, Deseret News column, ‘Hollywood markets pretty hard stuff as innocent fluff,’ suggests that movie studios sometimes mislead adult moviegoers and attempt to lure teens to inappropriate material. (Hard to believe, I know.)

This has been a week for false advertising from Hollywood.

Maybe it's time for the Motion Picture Association of America to worry about more than just the graphic content of movie previews. Maybe honesty should be an issue.

No, "Striptease" is not a comedy.

No, "The Nutty Professor" is not a family film.

But if you were fooled, it's understandable.

"Striptease" is being sold in television ads as a wacky farce, despite its darker undertones, a surprisingly mean-spirited sensibility and some gruesome violence.

And nowhere in the ads for "The Nutty Professor" do you find any hint of that film's raw and raunchy sense of humor.

The running gags about flatulence and the crass, sexual comments from an elderly woman (played by Eddie Murphy in one of seven roles) are nowhere to be seen in any of the film's commercials.

Not that this is a new trend, mind you.

Anyone remember the ads for "Kindergarten Cop"? Arnold Schwarzenegger and young children in warm-and-fuzzy situations but nothing about the film's extreme violence.

And how about "Parenthood"? Granted, the film has some insightful and witty comments about the title subject, but it is very much an adult movie — not the cute-and-cuddly family comedy on display in the ad campaign.

More recently, you might have gathered from the previews for "The Cable Guy" that it was lightweight fare instead of the dark, violent picture it proved to be.

In fact, don't get me started on Jim Carrey's movies — should the "Ace Ventura" pictures and "Dumb & Dumber" really have been marketed as films for kids?

Of course, "Striptease" is rated R, but the PG-13 ratings for "The Nutty Professor," "Kindergarten Cop," "Parenthood," "The Cable Guy," the "Ace Ventura" pictures and "Dumb & Dumber" point out that Hollywood has no idea what is and is inappropriate for our young people.

Do you really want your 13- or 14- or 15-year-old kids sitting through these movies?

More to the point, do you really want Hollywood to make the decision for you?