The modern proliferation of brand integration and product placement are the targets of Morgan Spurlock’s latest comedic “docbuster”. His goal is to finance a 1.5 million dollar film via corporate sponsorship, the film’s content being his search for willing partners. The cameras follow Spurlock through over-the-top pitch meetings to a seemingly endless list of uninterested sponsors. As funds are slowly raised, Spurlock ventures off into explorations of advertising-related fields. He finds out his “brand personality”, gets psychoanalyzed by an ad agency, and ventures to Sao Paulo where outdoor advertising has been outlawed. His journeys are interspersed with a variety of talking heads that include the likes of Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, and Quentin Tarantino. Less-than-flattering commercials for the film’s sponsors are also included throughout in an ongoing strand of meta comedy that gets old pretty fast. Unfortunately, like the faux-but-real commercials, the film is really a one-note joke that loses both its charm and humor as it slogs towards completion. Spurlock is a likable guide who excels at thoughtfully posing unanswerable questions with intentions of transparency, but his humor doesn’t quite carry this outing for its 90 minute running time. An admirable film regardless of its success.
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold opens today at the Ritz East.