There’s a sense of Jazz, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants vibe to the approach of documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. He sees a problem, a social issue that is ripe for debate or investigation, and he just dives in. More importantly, as he does so he puts himself at risk. He refuses to simply wade into the waters; he jumps into the deep end with his hands cuffed behind his back and lets us watch as he kicks and screams.
In the case of The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock entices several leading national brands to chain themselves together with him.
The film is all about product placement in movies and the questions of selling out. Are filmmakers losing control of their projects when they offer to share their frames with car, shoe and drink plugs? Are consumers fighting a losing battle against the constant barrage of now-sneaky ads in the escapist narratives that are supposed to take our minds off the pressures of the daily grind.
(That critical plug, by the way, was brought to you by the forgotten coffee-bean pickers who kindly pick the beans that over-stimulate our brains each and every day — who, it should be noted, did not pay for that plug because I have integrity and truthfully I don’t know any bean pickers; if I did, I, like Spurlock, might have made a pitch to them, just to see if they would have supported this review)
Spurlock sells and wins us over by not succumbing to phony intellectual or political snobbery, but the real question is what has his film sold or told us about this reality that we didn’t already know? Grade: B-
Opens May 20. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.