Friday, April 22, 2011


Morgan Spurlock’s documentaries (SUPER SIZE ME, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?), on the surface may seem self-serving; He is always front-and-center and never away from the front of the camera for more than 10 seconds. But despite the fact that his face (and body) are all over the film, he somehow always manages to shift the focus away from him and to the subject matter. In THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, Spurlock goes after the world of product-placement in movies, and in the process creates the most transparent documentary ever made.

Spurlock (Morgan Spurlock) sets out to make a documentary on product-placement in movies. To fund this project, he seeks corporate sponsors to foot the bill. Spurlock goes from sponsor to sponsor, promising to feature their product in his film in exchange for fundage. All of these attempts and pitches are filmed, and that is the movie (!)

It’s a documentary made by a genius and a madman. It shows the attempts to secure a sponsorship in a movie that is being created while they negotiate about it. The CEO’s and PR people are kind-of being punk’d throughout the film, but Spurlock manages to get away from the wink-wink and goes more for the reasoning behind product-placement in movies.

A lot of effort is put into documenting what the big companies want out of having their precious product in a film. The influence that products can have in a movie and how they can overrule the creative vision of the director is exposed, and shown as somewhat concerning. Outside of film, the ridiculousness of the United States of Advertising is shown; as Spurlock goes from TV shows to high schools finding ads. An interesting, and eye-opening trip is taken to a certain South American country, where advertising in the city is banned to really drive home the point.

The humor and smart-assness of Spurlock is ever present (after agreeing to be a main sponsor, a juice brand is seen all over the film, har har), and keeps things light and moving. The film grinds to a little bit of a halt in the mid-section (going over the effect of ads on the human brain), but manages to wrap on a high note while provoking thought.

Overall, Spurlock doesn’t reveal a whole lot of secrets that world didn’t already know, but rather sets out to remind us of the world we live in. It’s engaging for movie fans, and educational for documentary buffs. Spurlock has done it again.


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