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Argylle's Marketing, and the Case of the Disappearing Protagonist

Did anyone tell the marketing department that Bryce Dallas Howard was in this movie?

Argylle is a charming movie about a shy, cat-loving author thrown into a real-life spy story. Who doesn't love a setup like that?

Howard is perfect as the relatable and awkward introvert, clutching her cat carrier as she runs from one ridiculous scenario to the next, and she's brilliantly paired with the always lovable Sam Rockwell. Hats off to the casting department. Chef's kiss.

But depending on which ads you saw, you might have thought this was a movie about Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill on a daring adventure, with plucky John Cena along for the ride. The advertising did everything possible to obscure the actual plot, and I have to wonder if they were trying to trick people into watching a movie that doesn't exist.

Let's play Guess the Protagonist!

For what it's worth (I'll try not to spoil anything), Henry Cavill is a figment of the author's imagination and the main character in her books. Like many women, she escapes reality by imagining he's talking to her in a mirror. Cavill pulls off the role with the unprecedented charisma he brings to everything, but he's not a major character in the movie. Technically, he's not a character in the movie at all.

Joining him on the celebrity roster is Dua Lipa, who headlines half of the trailers and posters even though she's only around for five minutes. I don't know the first thing about Lipa, I'm sure she's great and all, but it makes no sense for her little role to overshadow the main character.

Dear Variety magazine, these people are barely in the movie.

Now, I'd hate to think this has anything to do with Hollywood's refusal to market women who aren't shaped exactly the same. I don't want to be that guy. In fact, I hate it when people talk about an actress's body instead of their talent (and Howard is loaded with talent), but it's old news that The Powers That Be in Hollywood like to digitally tinker with Bryce's beloved caboose, which is kind of messed up for an industry that claims to be forward thinking about women and their bodies.

At the risk of saying something inappropriate, the general population enjoys the view when Bryce Dallas Howard is around, no matter which way she's facing.

The movie Argylle isn't shy about showing off her assets, and—trust me—the audience loved it, but the studio was clearly afraid to market a movie starring a curvy, popular redhead, and they worked hard to pretend the movie was actually about a pop star flirting with Henry Cavill.

While that might be a good story for another date night, nobody puts Bryce in a corner. We love her.

Adam D. Jones is a writer, historian, and undefeated cat wrestler. He is also something of a spy himself, having recently gone completely unnoticed as he took an extra plastic fork from the restaurant to use in his ramen later.

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