You've probably groaned at your fair share of celebrity public service announcements, as they're typically filled with shot after shot of actors oversimplifying and pandering for a certain cause. And while Joss Whedon's new Save the Day voting PSA does pack in a cast of A-listers — including the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Ruffalo — it manages to avoid the usual trappings of celebrity announcements by blending in the perfect amount of self-deprecation and seriousness.
The video was funded through The Avengers director's new super PAC, called Save the Day. And while Whedon typically works in the science fiction realm, he said he wants the super PAC to have a real impact on the election. He told The Hollywood Reporter, "It's not about attacking, because Donny's real good at attacking himself. It’s about getting people to vote, because it’s frightening the apathy that people are treating the most crucial election of their lifetimes with."
The PSA features "just a s**t ton of famous people," celebrities who aren't as famous but "you've seen us somewhere," as well as non-famous people cast for their "unpolished sincerity." Downey Jr., for instance, attempts to show off this same "unpolished sincerity," but shoots himself in the foot by being his typical over-the-top self.
They all ask for the same thing: Get out and vote on November 8, because the consequences for this election cycle are dire. While the ad doesn't name the candidates specifically, their choice is pretty clear. Actor Don Cheadle refers to a "racist abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society." Martin Sheen adds, "We cannot pretend both sides are equally unfavorable."
The video also ends with a promise: If you vote, Ruffalo "will do a nude scene in his next movie." That should certainly help turnout, don't you think?
This ad clearly making fun of itself, pointing out how these types of PSA's tend to be overly populated with celebrities. But it's also the perfect way to get a serious message across. While other PSAs tend to rely on star power alone, this in-your-face approach works to Whedon's advantage. The result is an announcement that doesn't expect its audience to be ignorant of the realities of the election.
As this PSA makes clear, unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. And if that means parading a group of actors, all promising a Ruffalo nude scene, then so be it.