Last month, the thriller Drive starring Ryan Gosling opened in theaters nationwide. From what we can discern from the film’s trailer, its follows a Hollywood stunt driver and his perils following some dirty-handed contract work. For those who need a touch of romance alongside their action, the driver falls in love with the married woman whose family he entered the contract to protect. Or something like that. We here at Abnormal Use have not seen the film, but we think it looks somewhat entertaining. One litigant, however, wants her money back.
A Michigan woman has filed a lawsuit against the film’s distributor, FilmDistrict, and the Michigan theater in which she saw the film, seeking a refund of her ticket price. Yes, we know it sounds absurd to accumulate legal fees and court costs over an $8 ticket. The movie can’t be that bad, right? After all, it did gross nearly $12 million (with a $15 million budget) during its opening weekend. If people can sit through three hours of The English Patient without feeling the need to sue its distributor, Drive must be horrible. Oh, and here’s the best part: She wants to certify the suit as a class action!
What could possible make Drive so horrendous that a federal class action lawsuit becomes necessary to save cinema goers from seeing it? According to the lawsuit, the woman claims that FilmDistrict marketed Drive as being very similar to The Fast and the Furious when, in actuality, the film “bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film . . . having very little driving in the film.” Oh, the horror!
After you have regained your composure, let’s take a closer look at these allegations. First, is the plaintiff really claiming she has been damaged because Drive did not meet the high standards of The Fast and the Furious? Seriously? While Fast was the career high point for both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, it is a movie that can only be enjoyed along side a $3 bottle of gas station wine. Claiming that a movie is dissimilar to Fast should be considered a compliment. If the plaintiff claimed she had been duped into watching a pseudonymous Fast sequel, we would feel her pain. After all, the fact that five Fast films have already been made is a grave injustice to the film industry. But the fact that the plaintiff is actually complaining that the move is not like Fast is beyond our comprehension.
Second, even if we assume Fast has some cinematic merit, was Drive really trying to market itself as such? Take a look at the Fast trailer from 2001. To the plaintiff’s credit, there are a lot of similarities between the two trailers. Both have cars. Both show people kissing. Both have dramatic music as a background. We can see how the plaintiff might see a resemblance. Despite all these similarities, however, the movies are not marketed as one in the same. In the Drive trailer, it is apparent that the movie has some story line. After watching the Fast trailer, all we know about the film is that the actors do something in cars, and they like to do it fast. Of course, it was probably hard to reveal a plot in the Fast trailer considering the film’s utter lack thereof. Oh, well.