Morgan Spurlock returns to feature length documentary with an examination of the not so veiled world of product placement in movies. Spurlock loves to be the guinea pig in his movies, so along the lines of his hit Super Size Me, where he tried to kill himself with McDonald's for a month, this time out he decides to turn his film into a giant billboard of product placement, selling time in the film, wearing a NASCAR inspired suit covered in patches, and even awarding a primary sponsorship which makes the full title of the movie Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
Throughout the movie he meets with potential sponsors and advertising pros to pitch his idea to fund his doc entirely through product placement. Spurlock cites big time blockbusters, particularly Iron Man, as the framework for his journey, looking at fast food, clothing, cars etc. to explore and exploit for money.
The problem with his thesis is he's not making a blockbuster. There's no A-List celebrity attached, there is no giant billboard planned on the Gower St. walls of Paramount. He's not making that kind of film so he cannot attract the kind of people involved in that level of product placement in order to get the scoop on how it works. Pom Wonderful is great and all, but it's no Coca Cola. So, while it's intriguing to see the types of products Spurlock can attract to this project, it is in no way indicative of the business of studios and product placement.
It's not a bad film, it's actually quite good, but it is far from an honest one. It's arc is flimsy, even for a documentary, and there's that little issue of you will not get a real look inside the very odd business of theatrical product placement. I wanted to know more, I wanted details on the process and to see, like his example of Iron Man, how a big budget movie squeezes financing from corporations. I didn't get it. A terse overview of product placement is scattered over the first third, after that it is basically an uncomfortable mix of advertising and a behind the scenes on the making of this movie, which actually kind of never really becomes a movie.
That's what it is!! This is a weird EPK for Morgan Spurlock's new film, not the film itself!! When's the movie coming out? Oh....
Okay, that's hyperbole, but aside from some entertainment value, there's minimal substance to this doc, and for me, that's not good enough. It's a neat idea, but as a movie, no. A big expose in Vanity Fair, sure. Some webisodes, maybe. Not a major motion picture. I will still look forward to what Spurlock does down the line despite my disappointment in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, but I cannot recommend this to anyone outside of die hard documentary fans.