Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold: movie review

'Super Size Me' director Morgan Spurlock spins a metadocumentary on branding and film in 'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.'

By Peter RainerFilm critic / April 22, 2011

Morgan Spur­lock is a jokester documentarian who fancies himself a social reformer. I'd call him Michael Moore Lite except Moore himself can be pretty Lite.

Skip to next paragraph

His most famous film is "Super Size Me," where he ate nothing but McDonald's fast food for a month while chronicling on camera his widening girth and skyrocketing cholesterol. Spurlock's most recent film, "Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?" was a facetious attempt to track down the titular bad guy.

For his new film, Spur­lock had a potentially kicky idea: Since movies are already replete with product placements, why not make a movie about how the branding process works and finance it entirely with – voilà – product placements? The result is "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

As you no doubt have already surmised, POM Won­derful, the makers of those chubby, pricey bottles of pomegranate juice, kicked in a million dollars and became the film's over-the-title presenter. The movie's overall budget, around $1.5 million, was filled in by product plugs for everything from Ban deodorant, JetBlue and Hyatt Hotels to Mini Cooper and horse shampoo.

The result, to put a char­itable spin on it, is a metadocumentary – a movie about itself that is also an inherent critique of itself (wink, wink). But Spurlock is no metaphysician. Any highfalutin interpretations of his new film only serve to camouflage what is, in essence, a scam about a scam.

Spurlock wants us to know that, because he is in on the scam, he is not selling out – or "buying in," as he prefers to call it. He confides in us and brings us into corporate powwows where he attempts to hawk his movie to advertisers. He keeps things "transparent." (Of course, any good magician will tell you that "transparency" is a prerequisite for any successful sleight of hand.)


Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story