FULL DISCLOSURE: This review has been brought to you by Glenn Gaylord, Inc.
In the tradition of Michael Moore and Nick Broomfield, Morgan Spurlock inserts himself center stage into his own documentaries, virtually making them more comedy films than objective real-life studies. As such, this is a thrillingly entertaining, hilarious meta-movie in which we're sold everything from pomegranate juice to Mini-Coopers to luxury hotels, while at the same time being pummeled by the Morgan Spurlock "brand" as well.
While not the searing indictment of how product placement has taken over our lives, the film still packs a punch. Completely financed by the advertisers we see over and over again, Spurlock wants us to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all while questioning whether or not it's a sell-out. This is some creative, exhilarating, movie-making here. The pace is lightning fast throughout as we trace Spurlock's attempt to secure financing for the film and honor those product placement contracts.
There were two moments in the film, however, that really hit home and gave it that little bit of emotional heft. When Spurlock visits Sao Paulo, which enacted a "no outdoor advertising" rule in the city, I was amazed at how simple and serene the city looked without all that "noise pollution". Later, he visits a high school where he asked the students how they felt about advertisements even within their daily news updates. One young teen said, "High school is supposed to tell us how to think, not what to think". It gave me some hope for a generation raised on corporate high fructose b.s.
Spurlock is such a genial host through this potential minefield, that you end up not resenting his advertisers as much as you would on any given episode of [INSERT ANY TELEVISION SHOW HERE - but especially THE AMAZING RACE, you FORD FOCUS whores!]. These advertisers come across as shrewd, down-to-earth business people who are proud of their products. God help us all!