The Austin Chronicle

Short Cuts

By Marc Savlov, January 17, 2003, Screens

My Name Is Nobody Dept.: In a move that's certain to anger nonexistent film critics both in Austin and the world over, the Federal Trade Commission announced last week they'll be undertaking a review of how endorsement blurbs can be used in promoting films. This comes (somewhat belatedly) on the heels of the June 2001 revelation that the clever weasels over at Sony had created their own personal critical lap dog out of whole cloth. The resulting fabrication -- one "David Manning" -- for a time heaped lavish praise on several Columbia films (Columbia is owned by Sony), including A Knight's Tale and the Rob Schneider hellhole The Animal. When the ruse was uncovered, Sony/Columbia promised not to do naughty things like this anymore, but it's only last week that the FTC took matters officially into their own hands and announced that, since the tsunami of movie blurbs that clutter the Sunday Times' Arts and Leisure section so much these days should be held to the same stringent guidelines as other ad testimonials, "any alteration ... from the text of the review which does not fairly reflect its substance would be a violation." Penalties for faux-blurb whores are not discussed on the FTC Web site, but may we humbly suggest future offending parties be forced to endure a regular diet of major-studio pitch meetings, where even as we speak, Rob Schneider's Jungian psyche-comedy The Anima is doubtless being birthed. Gold into lead, baby, gold into lead.

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