Sometimes, you can tell from the trailers. If it's a comedy, and the gag revealed in the trailer is just plain unfunny, you know the film is going to be awful, because you assume that they pick the "best" gag for the ad. If it's a romance, and the ad features a scene with the male lead holding the female lead's face in his hands or the line "I have to learn to trust again" or "I'll always be there for you," the movie is really, really bad.
And sometimes, though not often, the ad makers come right out and tell you the movie sucks. Take this new film, When in Rome, for example. Within seconds, we can see it's just another Dust off Screenplay, Change Names and Location, and Release into Theatres Forgotten-in-Five-Minutes waste of celluloid. Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy finds Girl, Boy dies in tragic blimp accident over the Rose Bowl (ok, that last part is lifted from Police Squad, but you get the idea.) But here's where we are informed that this particular film lacks even the smallest modicum of entertainment value- at the very close of the ad, the screen is filled with rave reviews- "Marvelous!" "I loved it!" "Terrific!" "Stole my heart!"
Who wrote these reviews? Look closer, and you'll see that among the well-known reviewers giving their thumbs up to this mess are "Amy G" and "Maurissa K" and "Sue T"-- basically the same people who show up at 2 am to tell us that they made BIG MONEY with John Commuta's Turn Debt into Wealth system and just ADORE their new Snuggies.
I've seen positive reviews from REAL PEOPLE for The Phantom Menace, 50 First Dates, and Click. That means that it's pretty damn easy to find SOME reviewer SOMEWHERE to give three stars to anything more entertaining than the Emergency Broadcast System. That the makers of When In Rome had to resort to the kind of fake testimonials usually reserved to buyers of Total Gym and Jack LaLane's Juicers tells you everything you need to know about the film- and it's nothing good. Thanks for the tip, Laurie P of Des Moines!