DIRECTED BY AND FEATURING
Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick
Audio Commentary; Deleted Scenes: Multiple Featurettes; Trailer; Commercials
Taken as pure entertainment, Morgan Spurlock's latest faux doc, POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, is worth a view courtesy of Spurlock's generally likable screen persona and an abundance of humor that make this film a nice comeback for the director who leaped to fame with Super Size Me only to follow it up with the disappointing Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
However, if you're looking for a serious doc, then The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a bust, a terrific concept that never becomes more than a gimmick in the hands of a director who seems to spend a bit too much time on film admiring himself and not enough time actually examining the subjects of his film.
The basic concept behind The Greatest Movie Ever Sold purports to examine product placement by having Spurlock create a film about product placement funded entirely by product placement...This from the director whose entire career is owed to his willingness to eat three meals a day for 30 days from McDonald's. In fact, I think one could make a solid argument that even Spurlock's second film, Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden, was doing nothing more than exploiting yet another well known "product," Osama Bin Laden.
Hypocrisy aside, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold could very well have been one of the year's doc highlights had Spurlock taken his responsibility for research and actual facts as seriously as he did the need to entertain. While Michael Moore can certainly be self-promoting and focused on entertainment, Moore takes a tremendous amount of care to present research, insights, interviews and to truly examine the issues he presents.
If you've already concerned yourself with product placement (and you should), then there's nothing contained within The Greatest Movie Ever Sold that will serve as earth shattering or particularly insightful. When your cinematic highlight is getting noted anti-product placement activist Ralph Nader to actually accept a product within the film, then you're not exactly talking about a film of tremendous substance here.
Rather than being informative or pointed, Spurlock presents as mostly smug and smarmy. He ends up funding his film by getting actual financial commitments from 20 corporate sponsors, including a cool mil from the title's mentioned pomegranate juice. In fact, it would seem that most of the sponsors who said "Yes!" are actually green-oriented, socially responsible corporate entities who likely had the misguided belief they were doing something relevant.
If anything in this film actually surprises you, then you're likely the kind of person who drinks Vitamin Water because you're favorite character on "Jersey Shore" drinks it, too. In other words, you're a lost cause. If, however, you have a brain and have given any thought whatsoever to the corporate world's influence on our daily lives then the most you can hope for from The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is to get a few laughs and to marvel that there were actually corporate leaders, boards and CEO's who fell for this crap.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
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Richard Propes, The Independent Critic