The Friend Zone prolongs comedy season
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
It is unusual for a Spanish film to enjoy critical success (a recent example is 25 Carat [+see also:
interview: Patxi Amézcua
film profile]). It is even rarer for the film in question to be a comedy. And if, on top of that, the film’s protagonists are teenagers, it’s practically a miracle.
Manga Films could not have chosen a better time to release the film (Friday, July 3, on 240 screens), thanks to the enormous success of two other comedies which, like The Friend Zone, had production support from Antena 3 – Brain Drain [+see also:
film profile] and Road to Santiago [+see also:
film profile] (see news. Their success shows that this type of comedy has found its audience.
Manga and producer Telespan 2000, both part of Vértice 360º, came up with a viral marketing campaign in which, alongside conventional media such as the press, posters and television, Internet played an essential role.
The Net, a natural resource for film viewers, has been the site of the Pagafantas Support Association [editor’s note: Pagafantas is the film’s Spanish title, meaning “the one who pays for the Fantas”] and the protagonist’s blog. Cobeaga has made exclusive videos which have given rise to an anthem (a real hit on YouTube), and numerous Facebook groups.
Yet no amount of marketing can replace substance, which The Friend Zone is not lacking. It has so far won the Critics’ Award at the Malaga Film Festival. Cobeaga, who was nominated for an Oscar for his short One Too Many, says his aim is “to make films that appeal to more demanding audiences as well as those who only go to the cinema to enjoy themselves. How? By not treating viewers as if they were idiots”.
In his debut feature, Cobeaga has recreated a familiar figure, a naive boy who attaches himself to a good-looking girl, waiting for something to happen and humiliating himself for nothing. For we all know that there are two types of boys: those you’re attracted to and those who pay for the Fantas.
(Translated from Spanish)
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