Film Review: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about advertising in the movies is light and entertaining. Although The Greatest Movie Ever Sold explores some interesting ideas, the tone is always jovial.

Famed documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock takes on the unique task of making a film about product placement while trying to sell product placement for the film. Spurlock approaches a number of brands to ascertain their interest in taking part, whilst also delving into the world of advertising in films, and advertising in general…

What makes The Greatest Movie Ever Sold so appealing is the presentation style of Morgan Spurlock. Spurlock, who co-writes and directs the film, keeps the tone light and amusing. After all, the documentary focuses on a subject that is neither traumatic nor completely humorless.

There are moments in the film that explore a more serious side to the prominence of advertising. The investigation into advertising in schools, and the decisions made by school boards in America is enlightening. With this aspect, Spurlock broaches the more significant issue of the necessity of advertising. It is interesting to hear how one head teacher tries to balance limits on advertising with finding the necessary revenue for her school. Similarly, the segment filmed in Brazil highlights issues of advertising on a wider scale.

Spurlock discusses the issue of product placement in films with a variety of people involved in the industry. Some well-known directors pop up, as well as industry lawyers and executives. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is successful in its aim to depict just how prolific product placement is, and the reliance of the film industry on this stream of revenue.

Elsewhere, the ideas for advertising are greatly amusing, as are the actual adverts that feature in the film. Tellingly, even the companies game enough to get involved with a project such as this still want to call the shots. This is illustrated unambiguously in one CEO nixing ideas for the in-film advertisement.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold will not be overly enlightening for those who already have an interest in film. Nevertheless, Spurlock raises some interesting issues, and presents the documentary in an entertaining fashion.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is released on DVD on 27th January 2012.