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MOVIE REVIEW: “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” looks at branding in films

Documentarian Morgan Spurlock (Mr. “Super Size Me”) is at it again – this time bringing his quirky sensibility to the well-established practice of product placement.

Corporations are putting their names on sports stadiums, concerts and research labs; in film, actors are slugging down Cokes or hunching over a Macintosh. Branding increased the visibility and take of films like “Transformers” and “Iron Man.”

Spurlock wondered whether he could finance an entire film that way – a film about product placement.

The result is “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” in which Spurlock takes us into boardrooms while he pitches corporations about sponsoring the first-ever documentary financed solely by branding.

The surprising thing is that corporations – some of which come across in less than ideal fashion -- allowed Spurlock to film these meetings.
Spurlock also does his homework, talking to experts in the field. Olson Zaltman tells him about “brand personality” and Robert Weissman of Public Citizen says branding should be acknowledged at the time it appears. Spurlock even talks to citizen advocate Ralph Nader.

“Where should I go to not see commercials?” Spurlock asks.

“To sleep,” Nader replies.

Obviously, Spurlock got his money for the documentary, but at the end he’s wondering whether he sold out or bought in.

That’s for you to decide.

This may not be Spurlock’s best or most riveting effort, but he seems incapable of making a boring film.

The details

Opens Friday, April 22 at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinema.

To read more reviews by Jean Lowerison, click HERE.