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What is the good word to describe 'comedy movies' and 'ads' that seem very fake and tacky, and which failingly try to draw emotional responses (with fake grins and all) (like some but not all Robin Williams films where he acts like a kid etc.). I thought of the word 'cheesy' but that doesn't connote 'trying to draw emotional responses from the audience'. So any good words or a word for that?

I am also not thinking about the word: low budget movies here.

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I'd recommend "empty" or "hollow", but you may prefer "kitschy":



1.art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness >or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way. "the lava lamp is an example of sixties kitsch"


2.considered to be in poor taste but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

Source: OxfordDictionaries.com (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/kitsch)

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Please provide the source of your quoted definition in plain text (and a link would be useful). – Andrew Leach Jul 23 '14 at 6:39


  • excessively and objectionably sentimental.

  • falsely sentimental, esp in a weak or maudlin way.

  • Though the audiences are tired of mawkish plays and movies, writers and producers are never tired of them. There are always audiences who in their innocence shed tears at the excess of sentiment they express. The mawkish dialogues in the play brought ridicule from the spectators, rather than tears or laughter.


also trashy

  • In very poor taste or of very poor quality: "There was a special pathos ... within ... her trashy tales" (James Wolcott).
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You might also consider:

From Merriam-Webster
camp :
a : something so outrageously artificial, affected, inappropriate, or out-of-date as to be considered amusing
b : a style or mode of personal or creative expression that is absurdly exaggerated and often fuses elements of high and popular culture


Also from Merriam-Webster
farce :
: a funny play or movie about ridiculous situations and events
: the style of humor that occurs in a farce
: something that is so bad that it is seen as ridiculous

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Please provide the source of your quoted definitions in plain text as well as a link. – Andrew Leach Jul 23 '14 at 6:39
@AndrewLeach- Is this a new requirement? I've been posting links to definitions like this for years and I took the practice from others when I joined. I don't really see the purpose in duplicating the information. – Jim Jul 23 '14 at 15:14
Yes: SE policy changed. Please see the linked Meta post. It's possible to move the link from camp to something like [[M-W]](merriam-webster.com/dictionary/camp), which isn't duplication, but adds the source in plain text. (Except it won't look like that in answer, but it's a useful fault in this case) – Andrew Leach Jul 23 '14 at 15:17

Definitions from thefreedictionary.com and oxforddictionaries.com...

hackneyed - used so often as to be trite, dull, and stereotyped
schmaltz - excessive sentimentality, especially in music or films

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Consider sappy. According to American Heritage, it means both

  • (Slang) Excessively sentimental; mawkish.
  • (Slang) Silly or foolish.
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How can I talk you into using italic not bold for the use–mention distinction? Setting in italic is standard. Plus bold looks too much like yelling. See meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/364 for more. – tchrist Jul 23 '14 at 19:45
TLDR: I'll try. FULL ANSWER: I have always had trouble with inside voices. Truthfully, I tend to use italics for emphasis and titles (including the textual titles of sources per your instruction, except when using acronyms). I have been using bold to make the answer (on those much maligned single word requests) stand out. If the community prefers otherwise, I am not unbendingly committed to my regimen. – bib Jul 23 '14 at 20:04

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