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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Spurlock's goal is to point out that if you’re watching a movie or a TV show (or pretty much enjoying any form of entertainment), chances are you’re being sold something. Products are either discreetly or aggressively being pitched to you to get you to spend your money of them. And being aware of this may help empower you to be aware of exactly what companies are doing to influence your purchases.
Positive Role Models
It’s hard to say exactly who, if any, the role models are in this film, but what Spurlock is trying to do is certainly helpful, even as it helps him get his film financed. Like a backstage tour guide, he lets viewers into a world they probably knew very little of -- and that they may view with more care in the future.
Violence & Scariness
A few clips from action movies, though they're fleeting and not particularly violent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A quick scene in which a man envisions women’s breasts under T-shirts to be of a different shape. Brief flashes of advertising images showing scantily clad women.
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A few instances of “ass,” “s--t,” and “f--k.”
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Products & Purchases
The movie is intentionally inundated with products, including Sheetz, Mane ‘n Tail, Burger King, JetBlue, Nike, Ben & Jerry’s -- you name it, it’s probably here. And of course, the movie itself is a product, with beverage manufacturer POM as a title-placement-earning sponsor. But the film is transparent about the ways that these products are sold to viewers, even as it’s happening on screen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Quick snippets of beer commercials.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary from Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock unmasks how companies push their brands by way of film and television product placements -- and how media companies work with them to raise money to get their projects made. It's an enlightening, exhilarating, and often hilarious look at the mechanics of consumerism and advertising that's likely to be a conversation-starter for teens and adults. Expect some swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k") and plenty of footage from commercials. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A fascinating, whimsical whirlwind of a ride, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold nevertheless does serious business. It lifts the curtain off of the mystery that is product placement and partnerships and encourages viewers to question the system. In one scene, Spurlock consults an analyst to see what his "brand personality" is. He's told that he's "mindful" and "playful," a description that fits not just Spurlock the filmmaker, but this movie.
It's discomfiting: Even as we watch everyone involved -- Spurlock, the advertisers, other directors -- discuss the inner workings of Hollywood, we're keenly aware that Spurlock is part of it as well. He is, after all, trying to get his documentary made. So as he drives home his point, he's selling a product, too. Then again, perhaps discomfort is just what we need when we discover that our entertainment is no longer simply that.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.