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Review: 'POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold' is shamelessly manipulative, and that's the point

**1/2 (out of four)

Advertising, in case you haven’t noticed, is everywhere. That includes ever-increasing product placement in the entertainment industry, a trend that inspired documentarian Morgan Spurlock to make a film about his pursuit to find advertisers to finance a film about his search for advertisers. So satirically circular.

The buzz: “Super Size Me” director Spurlock sometimes gets so wrapped up in his pursuit of gleeful entertainment that he loses track of his point. (See his wildly ill-conceived 2008 doc “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?”) He’s usually very good on-screen company, however, meaning our guide’s a pleasure regardless of what’s on his tour.

The verdict: Spurlock’s handling a lot of issues here, and he’s not the best juggler. How and when did advertising become so invasive, and does the public even notice/care at this point? How does product placement truly impact the financing of a movie? What is the impact of all this marketing, and does the concept of “selling out” even matter now (dude, how can you not mention the Black Eyed Peas here)? The punchline of “Greatest Movie” is about the disintegrating line between entertainment and commerce; Spurlock’s achievement is that even as he recognizes the absurdity behind his plugging of Pom Wonderful Pomegranate juice and Ban deodorant, some viewers will still go out and buy them anyway.

Did you know? Big Boi of Outkast recalls his group passing on selling a song to a “Got Milk?” campaign because Andre 3000 doesn’t drink milk. So glad a group (who I like very much, for the record) with a song called “We Luv Deez Hoez” clings tightly to its principles.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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