October 31st, 2013

'Free Birds' review: What cheesy product placement

By Peter Hartlaub

We’ve seen some audacious product placement in movies before: Joe Pesci ordering a Subway sandwich in “Lethal Weapon 2”; Tom Hanks giving AOL stock a boost in “You’ve Got Mail”; a 119-minute Google advertisement disguised as a feature film called “The Internship.”
But movie audiences have never been sucker-punched by the fist of embedded marketing with the force that we see at the end of “Free Birds.” Warning: After a four-paragraph grace period, this review will include a spoiler of the final scene of the movie. And this spoiler (the contents, not the revealed plot points) may ruin your day.

“Free Birds” is the kind of factory-churned animated movie that seems to be multiplying in recent years. It sounds fun and clever in theory, featuring a turkey named Reggie who is pardoned by the president, then travels back in time to thwart the first Thanksgiving meal, presumably saving his species from centuries of slaughter.



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