Watch Morgan Spurlock Sell Out

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Watch Morgan Spurlock Sell Out

Spurlock investigates product placement, while Reese Witherspoon makes out with Robert Pattinson.

Water for Elephants

Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson

Regardless of what the calendar says, the summer movie season kicks off next week with the release of the latest Fast and the Furious sequel. Unfortunately, that means this weekend is a bit of a dead zone at the multiplex. Your prestige release is this adaptation of the best-selling historical novel by Sara Gruen about love among the circus folk circa the Great Depression, starring Reese Witherspoon and that sparkly vampire Robert Pattinson. The screenplay is by Richard LaGravanese, who is apparently the go-to guy for adaptations of vaguely exotic, housewife-friendly romances (see also Bridges of Madison County and The Horse Whisperer), and the director is Francis Lawrence, previously known for those classic chick flicks Constantine and I Am Legend. It looks like a very tasteful and safe choice for a first date, but unless Rashida Jones returns my calls by the weekend, I'll be skipping this one.

Madea's Big Happy Family

Director: Tyler Perry
Cast: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Palmer Williams, Jr.

If I'm interpreting Tyler Perry's IMDb page correctly, this is the sixth time he's donned the gray wig and gargantuan dress to play the grotesque yet undeniably beloved Madea in a feature film. Perry's trademark blend of low comedy and high-minded sermonizing has always been critic-proof, and at this late date, there's nothing I can say here that would change anyone's mind about him as a filmmaker or a cultural force or an oversized drag clown. I have no doubt that Perry's core audience of church ladies will turn out in droves, just like they did the first five times, but when one of the trailer's big laugh lines (the rhetorical question "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?" delivered loudly) is lifted directly from Rush Hour, you have to wonder how much of his heart and soul the writer/director poured into his latest cash cow.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Director: Morgan Spurlock
Cast: Morgan Spurlock, Ralph Nader

This meta-documentary from Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock is the most promising new release on the slender schedule, but only by default. The premise is worth a chuckle, at least: Spurlock sets out to make a documentary about the pervasiveness of advertising and product placement by financing it entirely with advertising and product placement. But as with the similarly chortle-worthy idea behind Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, I'm not sure that premise is strong enough to sustain a feature-length film without it becoming another Spurlockian exercise in stating the obvious. Still, given the competition, it's worth a shot. At the very least, I'm always up for some cheap laughs at the expense of advertising executives.

The One Movie You Should See This Week: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold