POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Rated PG-13 90 min. 2011

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock loves a stunt. In his 2004 doc Super Size Me, the director illustrated McDonald’s ill health effects by gaining 25 pounds on a steady diet of its food. Not much has changed. The conceit of Spurlock’s latest film POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is the ultimate gimmick: a film about advertising, marketing, and product placement paid for with ... product placement. Fortunes are spent, declaims Spurlock, on placing products like Coca-Cola into movies and offering tie-ins between summer blockbusters and McDonald’s and Burger King. Spurlock’s self-referential documentary thus centers on an idea that will strike everyone except leper colony dwellers, shut-ins, and other off-the-grid types who haven’t caught a blockbuster in decades as utterly obvious. The bulk of the movie is composed of meta-meetings in which Spurlock, with camera crew in tow, tries to convince corporate lackeys at brands from Ban to Volkswagen — sometimes he never makes it beyond an initial cold call — to trade their product placement in a movie for the cash Spurlock needs to make his doc. After copious rejections, Spurlock is eventually able to interest some companies in his pay-to-play. POM juice, with its eerily preserved boss lady Lynda Resnick, is on board. A Pennsylvania-based gas station chain with the unfortunate name Sheetz joins in. Merrell shoes, JetBlue, Hyatt hotels — like party guests who’ve gotten wind of the guest list, they all pile on once they sense the film is a safe bet. There are also appearances by a succession of marketing experts like Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, and Mark Crispin Miller, whose quick sound bites next to Spurlock’s prolonged jestering tend to make little impact. Spurlock plays dumb and the eggheads all walk right into his trap, offering thoughtful commentary on the dominance of advertising in our lives. Unfortunately, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold turns out to be the perfect advertisement for the corporations involved because it sells that ad-man buzz word “authenticity” and association with ironic in-jokes that such products crave.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.thegreatestmovieeversold.com

Director: Morgan Spurlock

Writer: Morgan Spurlock and Jeremy Chilnick

Producer: Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, Abbie Hurewitz, Keith Calder and Jessica Wu

Cast: Morgan Spurlock

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