And Now a Word from Our Sponsor: Film Review

Despite appealing performances, this comedy suffers from its derivative premise.

Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey star in this satirical comedy about an ad agency exec who speaks only in familiar slogans.

Its press notes describe And Now a Word from Our Sponsor as “in the spirit of Being There,” but there’s a fine line between homage and rip-off, which this feature debut from Zack Bernbaum consistently crosses. This tale of a mentally damaged ad executive who speaks only in advertising slogans has its offbeat charms--mainly thanks to the appealing lead performances from Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey--but its one-joke premise wears thin very quickly. Recently given its world premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival, it opens in theaters on May 10.

After collapsing in front of a battery of television screens displaying commercials, high-powered advertising agency owner Adan (Greenwood) wakes up in a hospital, communicating only through such familiar catchphrases as “You deserve a break today” and, in one particularly applicable to his own situation, “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.”

When charity worker Karen (Posey) comes across Adan, whose seminar she once attended, she takes pity on his situation and impulsively agrees to take him in for a few days. This doesn’t go over well with her teenage daughter Meghan (Allie MacDonald), with whom she has a contentious relationship.

Meanwhile, the newly beatific Adan reluctantly finds himself in a battle for control of his ad agency with its ruthless president Lucas (Callum Blue), who hopes to exploit his boss’s mental condition for his own advantage.

The film’s chief conceit is that Adan’s sound bites are seamlessly integrated into the dialogue in often amusing ways. Offered cereal for breakfast, he naturally asks “Got miik?” Confronting Meghan’s overly sexually aggressive boyfriend, he inquires, “Have you spoken to your doctor about erectile dysfunction?” And, shades of Chauncey Gardiner, his aphorisms are sometimes taken for deep wisdom, such as when a presidential candidate he meets in a restroom decides that Adan’s repeated utterances of “Can you hear me now?” would make the perfect campaign slogan.

Even more predictable are the life-changing effects that Adan has on those who come into contact with him, such as the mother and daughter who find his soothing presence spurring them towards reconciliation.

The ever-reliable Greenwood somehow manages to find the charm in his addled character, while Posey displays her trademark appeal as the beleaguered caretaker. But their strong efforts can only go so far in preventing And Now a Word from Our Sponsor from lapsing into hopeless silliness.

Newport Beach Film Festival

(108 Media/Paladin)

Production: Adman Productions, Ezeqial Productions, Spud Media

Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Parker Posey, Allie MacDonald, Callum Blue

Director: Zach Bernbaum

Screenwriter/producer: Michael Hamilton-Wright

Executive producers: Zack Bernbaum, John Hamilton, Lynn Mooney

Director of photography: Stephen C. Whitehead

Editor: James Vandewater

Production designer: Wendy Morrow

Costume designer: Michael Harris

Composer: Erica Procunier

Not rated, 87 min.