Since making ‘Super Size Me’ in 2004, Morgan Spurlock has become a brand. He’s the not-too-serious, stunt doc-maker, the front-of-camera guy who’s happy to bumble his way through the Middle East for ‘Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?’ or live on the minimum wage for ‘30 Days’. He’s the less political Michael Moore. Now he’s taken on the world of product placement and, in doing so, turned his film into a gag. We watch as he builds a budget by selling out to advertisers, such as Mane and Tail, a shampoo, and ‘Pom Wonderful’, a juice company which lends its name to the film’s title. That such companies are willing to get into bed with Spurlock is a hint that his analysis is not too damning, but he manages a robust and amusing reminder of how Hollywood’s tills are topped up by third-party brands and what they get – and we lose – in return. The irony, though, is that Spurlock’s collusion with brands actually takes product placement into even more subtle and devious territory than before.
Friday October 14 2011