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DreamWorks Face

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Not just for DreamWorks, though.note 

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)
Short webcomic


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 About to Shoot You.



    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • This expression has become an iconic image of The Tick.
  • Superboy/Kon-El has a habit of grinning or smirking while raising an eyebrow at friend or foe alike when making sarcastic quips. He also makes such an expression to the viewer on a couple of covers.

    Fan Works 

    Film - Animated 

    Films - Live-Action 

  • 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.
  • Harry Potter seems to be stuck doing it for seven years on the cover of the german books.

    Live-Action TV 

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas Mr. House does a subtle version of this with his avatar. The single raised eyebrow is pronounced but the smile is is very slight but noticeable, especially from the position the player is can activate his monitor to begin dialogue.
  • 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.
  • Undertale:
    • 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.
  • Mario:
    • Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey does this for about a quarter of the time that you can see his eyes, including on the box art... sort of. He can't do the smirk on account of having no mouth.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Smarm Brow


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