POM Wonderful presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Starring Morgan Spurlock
Directed by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me)
Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual material
Appropriate for ages 15+
Product placement in movies and television has always been with us, whether we notice it or not. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s obvious and then sometimes it’s distracting when it’s not there (i.e. cans of Tasty Drink Cola and Crispy Flakes Cereal). With his unique brand of filmmaking, documentarian Morgan Spurlock shows us all about product placement by going around to different sponsors and trying to get product placement for his movie. Sponsors can get varying level of exposure in his film and to the highest sponsor (in this case POM wonderful) goes the name above the title.
There is no doubt that Morgan is a wildly creative filmmaker with a distinct style. His goal is to always make a strong point, but to do so in a comedic, memorable way. And this particular film does just that. It’s funny, witty and engaging while at the same time wildly informative. It will be hard to see a Dr. Pepper on television or a Budweiser in a movie now without thinking of this film and the people responsible for getting it there.
A key element of the film that keeps it very interesting is the series of interviews with all sorts of unlikely suspects. Whether it’s Ralph Nadar or Noam Chomsky weighing in on the evils of corporate brainwashing or film directors Brett Ratner and Quentin Taratino discussing how they maintain artistic integrity while at the same time placing products in their films, the selection of subjects are well-interviewed and give credibility to the project.
One thing you won’t find in the movie is an argument. It’s also not an extremely intellectual doc with a strong thesis. In fact, compared to films like last year’s Oscar winner Inside Job or 2010’s winner The Cove, it can hardly be labeled in the same style of filmmaking. It’s almost less of a documentary and more like reality cinema. That’s not a bad thing, as the film is completely engaging and entertaining. But then again, it’s not going to create a revolution or change the world either. It’s simply a fun way to spend 90 minutes shedding light on a subject you are already probably mildly aware of. B+