With an authoritarian man in the White House, it was unavoidable that this year’s Super Bowl ads would be political. There were also plenty of movie and TV trailers, but few of them offered any real surprises; we did learn when the second season of Stranger Things premieres (Halloween), but that was about it.
Let’s take a look at this year’s crop of Hollywood stars in ads. The following line-up is courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.
Melissa McCarthy – McCarthy had a really good weekend, with her hilarious Sean Spicer imitation on Saturday Night Live and this elaborate ad for Kia where she’s an “eco warrior” in constant danger.
Jason Statham, Gal Gadot – Website builder Wix delivers a mini action movie starring two tough stars… fun to watch, but hard to catch the message.
Adam Driver – The message for this Snickers ad, starring Adam Driver in a very fake Western setting, is that you ruin everything when you’re hungry.
Elizabeth Banks – This ad for a laundry detergent does feature a celebrity, Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, but the bigger star is behind the camera. This is Elizabeth Banks’s first Super Bowl ad as director.
Steve Carell, Viola Davis, Robert Redford, Jimmy Kimmel, “Magic” Johnson, Missy Elliott, Stan Lee, Tina Fey, Amy Adams – Star-studded ad that’s more fun to watch for how it makes these stars’ old yearbook photos come alive than its predictable and irrelevant message for Honda.
John Malkovich – Hilarious ad for website builder Squarespace where the star discovers that JohnMalkovich.com is already taken by another John Malkovich.
Geoffrey Rush – Not a trailer for the upcoming National Geographic show Genius starring Rush as Albert Einstein, but a standalone, jokey Super Bowl ad for the network where Einstein is playing Lady Gaga on his violin, honoring the halftime show performer.
Justin Timberlake, Christopher Walken – Very silly but very amusing ad for drink maker Bai that takes advantage of Timberlake’s past as *NSYNC singer.
Kathy Bates – Bates has a little fun with her American Horror Story fame, playing a woman who keeps seeing “creepy children” in her new home. The ad is for Turbo Tax, a tax preparation software.
Jon Lovitz – Freaky ad starring Lovitz as a hypnotizing celebrity trying to make the Super Bowl audience eat more guacamole.
Peter Fonda, The Coen Brothers – Great Mercedes ad directed by The Coen Brothers, where Peter Fonda revives his old Easy Rider days. Cool.
Jeffrey Tambor – The Transparent star joins an ad for Tide Dry Cleaners together with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Pretty lame.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Arnie continues his ads for the video game “Mobile Strike”. Apparently, “I’m the party pooper” is now one of his one-liners.
Morgan Freeman – Freeman provides his voice and authority to Turkish Airlines in an unremarkable ad.