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Melissa McCarthy gets Photoshop makeover on "The Heat" poster

Posted by Scott Kearnan  June 12, 2013 12:00 PM

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People like Melissa McCarthy. But they probably don't want to be reminded what she looks like.

That's not my philosophy. But that seems to be the thought process that guided the disastrous design of movie posters for The Heat, which opens June 28. Ever since Bridesmaids, McCarthy has emerged as pop culture's well-liked, go-to Big Girl for Laffs. And her popularity is presumably why she was picked to star in this buddy cop comedy, which filmed in Boston last summer, opposite the conventionally svelte Sandra Bullock. But I guess filmmakers got nervous you'd take one more look at that big, round face of hers and go screaming to see a different movie, like Skinny Girls Eating Salad. Because McCarthy is virtually unrecognizable on the US and UK movie posters. Her face and neck have been slimmed to the point where she doesn't even look like herself. Apparently, if she's plus-size, it is less desirable to have a highly recognizable comic actress on your movie poster than a half-moon with eyes floating on a bed of Charles Manson hair. Got it.

The US (left) and UK (right) posters for "The Heat."

It's not exactly uncommon for Hollywood or Madison Avenue to put famous women on a Photoshop Diet. Just the other week, Beyonce gave the bizness to H&M, insisting that the retailer use her full, bootylicious body in its summer swimsuit campaign. And of course, there's always plenty of dialogue out there about the appropriateness (or not) of such dramatic touch-ups. Does it cultivate unrealistic images of beauty for women to live up to? Is it dishonest? Is it sexist? Generally speaking, I tend to answer "yes" to these. I mean, do you think anyone working on the marketing campaign for Tommy Boy asked if they should give Chris Farley a tummy tuck, so he'd look more petite alongside David Spade?

This situation is extra odd, though, since McCarthy's larger body type, unique by silver screen standards, is part of her appeal and what makes her distinct.

What do you think, did The Heat misfire with its poster?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About this blog

Scott Kearnan (@thewritestuffSK) is a Boston-based writer, editor, and communications consultant focusing on lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment. He's also a part-time smart aleck and buffalo wing connoisseur. "Media Remix" is where couch potatoes meet pop culture criticism. More »

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