When most people take selfies, they end up in one or both of two places: Facebook and Instagram. Unless one is famous, their selfies will probably not be seen by too many other people, and they certainly won't get national circulation. Until now-kind of. Poster Boy combines the contemporary love for the selfie with most people's desire for fame and puts their faces on fake movie posters. This free app is universally available, optimized for iPhone 5, and requires iOS 6.0 or later.
The app is very straightforward and simple: You take a picture of yourself and/or someone else, and the app will place it into a fake movie poster-all of them parodied versions of real movies like The Castaway, 28 Days Later, and The Godfather. This is simple enough, but the app does more. Different filters can be added to the photo to give a different feel, everything from simple black and white to a 1970's overly-bright wash to a number of different color filters, to make the whole picture monochromatic. Pictures can be rotated 360 degrees, shapes can be superimposed (like a fingerprint or spider, which can then be colored in) blocks of short text inserted. You have everything you need to make your very own sarcastic movie debut.
The most interesting part of this app is that is does not just do movie posters. It also generates a Blu-Ray cover, a billboard, and a bus stop ad. Once they're saved in the desired format, they can be shared via a number of social media websites as well as through email. Have you ever wondered what your face would look like gracing the side of a building as you appear in an ad for a blockbuster movie? Now you can.
As noted above, the app is free, but it does offer the ability to turn off ads and unlock other features for US$1.99. This did not appear absolutely necessary to actually use and enjoy the app, but I went with the option anyway because I hate having to deal with ads and other distractions. I wonder if that might be a bit pricey for the choice (especially since it isn't clear what other features are being unlocked), but I am content to let the developers determine that.
A total of thirty different posters are offered, which is more than I had expected (until I realized I just wasn't scrolling hard enough through the list after I reached what I thought was the end!). They look almost identical to the actual movies they parody, complete with pun-laden taglines and equally corny misspelled stars' names. ("Brat Spit" stars in "Night Club," for example.)
As clever as I thought the app was, and as much as I enjoyed taking reasonably humorous selfies for my movie debut (a rare thing for me), I have one rather glaring drawback to report. The humor is at times inappropriately crude. Probably I am in the minority on that, but I just feel sexual innuendos have no place in an app like this. They are cheap shots, pure and simple. They are what someone reaches for when they cannot think of something intelligent and witty, because sex, along with humor regarding bodily functions, always gets big laughs.
I laughed out loud at some of the posters because they were quite witty. Then as I continued to flip through I was just disappointed. The innuendos were not on every poster, but the creators more than made up for that by hitting the user over the head with them on one or two. They were not the kinds of posters I anted to see, and certainly would not want to put my face to them and then share them on the internet. This was almost enough to ruin the whole experience for me. This is really the only negative thing I have to say about an otherwise engaging and creative app. Maybe in future versions the creators will return to putting more thought and less last-ditch, lazy, cheap humor into their work.
Despite this criticism, I actually had a lot of fun with this app. I enjoyed trying to figure out what stupid facial expression would work best with the posters I chose. I did think a lot of the titles and such were clever and most were worthy of audible (and sometimes wheezing) laughter. Certainly the amount of control the app gives the user in creating the image is a plus. Most of us will never be movie stars or known beyond our little circles of influence. With Poster Boy, at least we can pretend for a while, and enjoy an extra touch of frivolous silliness that will brighten our days and our news feeds.