POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

9 May

Title: POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Morgan Spurlock
Writers: Morgan Spurlock and Jeremy Chilnick
Starring: 
Morgan Spurlock
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, some language and sexual material
Runtime: 
88 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
5.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 
70%

I’m a fan of Morgan Spurlock. Not only does he make some seriously good documentaries, Super Size Me was a remarkable debut, but he himself is a very entertaining person, so seeing him in front of the cameras is part of the fun of watching them, as he makes the ride that much better. POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is his new effort, which sees Mr. Spurlock going behind the world of corporate branding and product placement, and which also sees him getting the companies he talks to about advertising and product placement placing products to finance this very movie, which is all very meta and results with this film being called POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie ever sold and Mr. Spurlock going on talk shows to promote it with a suit full of patches with the logos of all the brands that financed the film.

And even though this one isn’t nearly as terrific as Super Size Me was, because it really doesn’t do much to make its point of interest as enthralling as that past one did, it still has Mr. Spurlock at the top of his game, being a true host to us and making every second of POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold unquestionably entertaining, and the movie’s quite short so it goes by real fast. This really is one helluva showman though, and he really knows how to dissect this material obsession of ours and actually does while also addressing his own involvement in it all: has he sold out or not? He says he’s not, and we’re inclined to believe him without really questioning him even a little bit about it. Which is truly something, this is a guy that can guide us along whatever topic he may feel like exploring, like he proved in his awesome TV show 30 Days, and we’ll go right along for the ride not ever questioning him, and that’s the true sign of a movie-star.

We’re all obviously acutely aware of product placement happening in our movies and TV shows, I mean we all know that Tony Stark drives an Audi and that your car can’t actually be a Transformer unless it’s from GM and that our American Idol judges only drink from their huge red Coca-Cola plastic cups. But what’s so cool about this film is that it doesn’t judge attempt to explain this to us by showing us what’s behind it, but it does so by becoming one of these films itself with Mr. Spurlock raising the $1.5 million needed to produce this film entirely through product placement, and filming the meetings he has with the companies to illustrate the process behind it all.

And even though it’s not as interesting as Super Size Me was, because that one was pure genius, it’s still quite cool to see Mr. Spurlock going to all these meetings with corporations to pitch them the movie and trying to get them to put their product in them for a price. POM Wonderful gave out a cool $1 million for the right to get their brand on the title, getting Mr. Spurlock to be seen drinking their pomegranate juice at various instances during the film and getting a guarantee that all other drink logos will be blurred out. And this is all shown in between our typical spurts of facts and figures and interviews with the people who work to make us want to buy what we see, the people who are against it all, and the film directors who are in the middle of it all but wouldn’t be able to make their films without product placement. And there’s even a sighting of Ralph Nader who’s actually quite funny here and tries to help Mr. Spurlock land a deal with a company.

But still, as funny and entertaining as POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold might be, and as fun as watching Mr. Spurlock whore himself out for a half hour may be, this one doesn’t really get to achieve greatness because the analysis done to this part of the corporate world while undeniably fun doesn’t go as deep as we might have hoped, and while this film does offer us some interesting tidbits we probably didn’t know, and does so with Mr. Spurlock delivering the laughs like crazy, it doesn’t really grant us any new insight into it all, which would have been much better.

But this is till recommended viewing by me, because Mr. Spurlock is awesome, he’s insanely smart and the fact that he downplays his wit to make it seem as though he’s learning about this stuff at the same time that we are, which makes him that much more relatable, is proof of it all. The guy has raised a million and a half bucks here from companies willing to pay money to get their products featured on a film that shows how shoddy product placement is in the first place, and that’s surely not an easy thing to do.

And moreover, I don’t think Mr. Spurlock has really sold out. He asks people in the film about what they think about him being a sell-out or otherwise after what’s he doing in this film and the consensus reached by most of them is that so long as he’s doing it just to demonstrate what goes on behind it all and not for any other reason then he’s fine, and I’m inclined to think that his convictions are the right ones and they’re strong and the guy really isn’t selling out. And if he was, so what? Everybody’s doing it nowadays apparently, and you get free pomegranate juice from it, so there’s that. This review wasn’t brought to you by any brand because not nearly enough people come to this site, but if I ever get that nice amount of traffic you bet your ass there’ll be a POM Wonderful-sponsored banner right there on the left of your screens.

Grade: B

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