DreamWorks Representative: Uhh... There are talking animals. And they do things animals don't normally do. And they all make this face. (holds up picture of guy smirking)You know that face. The clever, asymmetrical smirk. The similarly crooked eyebrows. The intense stare-down that comes at you from the promo posters. It's the expression that tells you the hero is going to be up to no good, and is much cooler than any of those classic, mainstream, conformist wimps those other studios produce... except the character him- or -herself never, or rarely, makes that face to begin with in the show! It's usually a way to get audiences to see a particular film over another, and promises a very different tone from what we're used to. It's the facial expression form of hip, sassy and snarky dialogue. This trope pertains to faces seen outside of the body of the film or TV show and only in marketing material... in posters, billboards, ads, etc. Otherwise, it would be a No Fourth Wall or an Aside Glance. Films produce advertising and posters as various stages of production and all of these are meant to be teasers. The stuff that comes first is normally dominated by faces staring at you because that's the only thing finalized at that point. So the DreamWorks Face is one of numerous stock attractive faces. For instance, you may have also seen the "everyone is smiling, bright eyes and maybe waving at you". See also Mascot with Attitude, Moe Stare, American Kirby Is Hardcore, Sean Connery Is Going To Shoot You.
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- Used in every (or most) DreamWorks animated film posters, where it may be the Trope Codifier. The image above explains it.
- Moviebob blew a fuse over this in his already-not-too-positive review of Shrek Forever After: "Everyone. Does. That same. Fucking. Smirk.", with each word illustrated by a screenshot of a DreamWorks character.
- Sometimes used in Pixar's posters.
- Buzz Lightyear does it in the posters for all◊ of◊ the Toy Story films. At least the face is pretty much in-character for him, and he makes it in the actual film — it's the expression he was molded with, in fact, and wears whenever he's inanimate. On the poster for Toy Story 3, Woody and Mr. Potato Head also have the expression.
- The poster for Cars had Lightning McQueen covered in a vehicle hood with only the corner lifted to reveal the smile.
- The poster◊ for Cars 2 included all four main characters doing it now!
- The Poster for Monsters University has the younger Sulley doing it. Mike, however, can't make it, having only one eye of course.
- Disney's been doing this more often since the early 2000's (not coincidentally around the time Shrek came out).
- Ads for Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, and Home on the Range all included this. The dot-eyed Chicken Little even managed to do this sometimes.
- The minimalist poster for Tangled had Rapunzel and Flynn side by side, looking at the audience deviously behind a sea of hair. Those who see the film know that Rapunzel is actually polite and cheery at heart and only rarely gets devious when necessary. It's equally as unnecessary as the rest of the movie's Totally Radical style ad campaigns.
- Disney was associated with a Bollywood animated musical called Roadside Romeo, and pretty much all the posters featured this.◊
- These◊ posters◊ for Mars Needs Moms.
- Wreck-It Ralph does it as well.◊
- Several promotional pictures for Frozen have Elsa making that face, and while she does it in the movie itself, it's only once, at the very end of her "I Am Becoming" Song. The model used isn't even Elsa's final model either.
- The series continues with Judy Hopps making the face in this poster◊ of Zootopia.
- Horton does this on the poster◊ for Blue Sky Studios' Horton Hears a Who!. It's more jarring if you're only familiar with the humbler Horton from the 1970s Chuck Jones special!
- Two of the DVD◊ art choices◊ for Coraline, with the same art on the DVD cases. This is a curious case, as the posters released before the movie had Coraline in a suspicious or frightened expression◊ to tell viewers that this is will be scarier than a typical family film. While she is normally a sarcastic girl, she does spend the majority of the film scared.
- Planet 51.
- Balto on the cover for Wolf Quest in heavy contrast to the bold, noble gaze seen advertising the first movie.
- Jimmy Neutron rather noticeably makes one on the movie poster of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
- While the gang don't use the face for the poster of Recess: School's Out, they do use it for the video and DVD cover.
- Dracula does this face for the poster of Hotel Transylvania.
- The face has even come into use in Eastern Animation, as seen on this poster◊ for the film Anahit, Armenia's first full-length animated feature. The dog beside the title character bears the face.
- Posters for The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water has SpongeBob doing it as the Invincibubble.
- In Animator Nancy Beiman's "Animated Performance" book, this expression is briefly mentioned as an example of a cliche expression that should be avoided. It also sets up a gag where a guy making this expression gets hit with a pie in the face to make him don a more specific expression.
- Done on the cover◊ of the Ally Carter book Heist Society.
- Alvin does it in nearly every piece of promotional art for the 2007 CG feature film Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Squeak-quel.
- This poster◊ for Paul.
- The poster◊ for the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a non-animated example.
- The poster for The Inbetweeners Movie. Hell, it's so obvious that it almost looks as though they just saw the face themselves and are mocking it.
- Mike Myers does this as the Cat on The Cat in the Hat DVD cover.
- Gutsy Smurf is the prime example of this in The Smurfs. In a poster◊ for The Smurfs 2, everyone does it except for Grouchy and Hackus.
- Completely averted on any poster for movies either directed or produced by Judd Apatow, likely to make his protagonists look as awkward as possible.
- Done by Eddie Murphy as his default movie poster expression. Another article asks if he might have been the inspiration for DreamWorks Face in the first place - considering that Donkey from Shrek, one of the first major hits from DreamWorks, is an Ink-Suit Actor version of Murphy, it wouldn't be surprising.
- Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He makes this face on both the film's poster and in the film, briefly giving one to the audience during his "Sweet Transvestite" number.
- Oh, hi, Jim Carrey! Pull off a cartoon DreamWorks Face with ease, you say?! Best case being The Mask, turning the original comic's Slasher Smile into something◊ zanier◊. The resulting cartoon followed suit.◊
Live Action TV
- Spyro the Dragon has been doing this face◊ on the covers of his video games since The '90s.
- The title character◊ of the Sega Saturn game Bug.
- Sonic Unleashed, due to the Werehog having a lower brow, accidentally gives Sonic this expression on the boxart.
- Early Sonic boxart and title screens had Sonic with notably similar expressions used for the exact same reason as the Dreamworks face (though after the first game, the American boxart tended to have more attitude to the point that some of the Japanese boxart didn't even have the face for a while up until Sonic 3D Blast). This has since become a trademark expression for the hedgehog.
- Both Jak and Daxter do the crooked eyebrows on the cover◊ of their first game.
- In The Adventures of Lomax, the titular character sports this expression on the cover.
- In Half-Life 2, both Alyx and Barney seem to have this expression permanently imprinted on their faces (at least whenever they look at Freeman).
- Max Payne's character model from the first game has the ever-so memetical constipated-y wiseass-y smirking face that seems to invoke this trope to a certain point.
- Splatoon, naturally, as part of its mid-late '90s Genre Throwback. Female Inklings can be seen doing it in official artwork and several Japanese and European TV spots.
- One of the sprites in the game files of Undertale shows Toriel making this face and is named spr_face_torieldreamworks_0.
- Papyrus does it during his boss fight sequence, showing his confidence in himself at that point in the game.
- In Multiplex, Jason uses this trope to sum up his expectations of How to Train Your Dragon before seeing it.
- In Drowtales, Kiel's Vloz'ress mask bears a huge, toothy, crooked grin.
- This Chainsawsuit uses it to make Charlie Brown look like a tool.
- One Pain Train comic directly references Dreamworks as the characters make this very face in the last panel.
- A drawing tutorial in Lackadaisy calls this "the Smarm Brow" and lists it among "things to unlearn". The character making this face gets smacked so hard his eyebrows pop off.
- In Scary Go Round, Sonny is under the impression that this expression is the height of cool and will make him and his mates Chick Magnets.
- The trope is referenced by name in this The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, where Wonderella reminisces of an ex who did this face during... intimate moments.
- A strip in CyanideAndHappiness shows that it might be contagious.
- At one point in Girl Genius Tarvek actually briefly pairs a cocked eyebrow with a shit-eating grin/smirk when he is being way to smug and cheerful for his own good. He ends up with a hand around his throat in short order.
- The Nostalgia Chick examined this trope in her "DreamWorks vs. Disney" episode; directly referenced in the title of the first half, "Rise of the Eyebrow".
- In his Zero Punctuation review of Ratchet & Clank (2016), one of the reasons Yahtzee gives for his lack of interest in the franchise is that all the characters have "a permanent case of Dreamworks Eyebrow".
- This is Takahata101's default expression.
- This is mentioned in Honest Trailers' video about Shrek.
- This trope is Older Than They Think. The show logo in the opening for early 90s cartoon Little Dracula featured the protagonist's face making this expression.
- The term is directly used in a storyboard for the Regular Show episode "Cruisin'".
Rigby: (Struggling to talk and hold the expression) Dude, this isn't going to work, no human ever makes this face.
- Explicitly avoided in John Kricfalusi's cartoons—he hates this expression so much that he forbids any of his artists from ever drawing it—and that includes any expression that even remotely resembles it, including non-cocky smirks or eyebrows raised out of curiosity. The Ren & Stimpy Show does make use of the Fascinating Eyebrow, though, usually when Ren is feeling smug or slightly annoyed.
- The promotional images for Archer all feature the titular character making this face whilst all the other characters make neutral or disgruntled facial expressions. Might be deliberately invoked, as Archer is a textbook narcissist and everyone around him is perpetually frustrated by his personality.
- Penn Zero makes this face nearly every time he's seen smiling.
- Littlest Pet Shop guest character Harold Winston of "In the Loop" has his eyebrows stuck in this position about 90% of the time.
- Guess what real-life animation figure was known for doing this himself decades before DreamWorks or even its founder were conceived: Walt Disney! His habit of raising one eyebrow out of intrigue was later used for Yensid, a character already based on him.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson did it so much in his WWE days that his logos made the expression. Although normally he didn't do the half-grin, just the eyebrow.
- On the poster for the intercontinental title match of WWE Extreme Rules 2016◊, Miz and Cesaro do it side by side.
- Ever-so-subtly used by Montréal mayoral candidate Mélanie Joly in her promotional images during the 2013 municipal election.
- Jeopardy! contestant Colby Burnett◊ seems to have one.
- The red M&M has this expression permanently etched onto his face in advertisements, reflecting his sarcastic personality.
- Famously dreamy Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau often makes this face.