Can I sue Sony for using a fake movie critic?

I’m sure many of you have heard about the fake movie critic created by Sony owned Columbia pictures to hype their lousy films:

My question is . . if you bought a ticket to see the movie based on David Manning’s review, hated it, and since it was false advertisng, can you sue Sony for fraud, damages and pain and suffering?

Or would Sony be able to argue that anyone stupid enough to believe that any movie critic would put over “The Animal” doesn’t deserve dime one?

Considering that a movie review is always an opinion, how can it ever be false?

Sounds like fraud to me. Time for a class action!

In a perfect world, every news outfit in the world would immediately cease advertsising Columbia movies.

Gotta hit 'em in the pocket.

You can sue anybody. You’ll just lose.

Sounds like the real Ridgefield Press has the best grounds for a lawsuit.

Exactly. All they had to say in response was “Oh yeah, Dave Manning, sure, that’s Bob Jones over there. Yeah, he likes to use that pen name when giving great reviews to really horrible movies. Hey! Bob! you got some visitors”.

Why the heck admit that he doesn’t exist??!!

Probably a lot of consciences were hurting when they realized they actually gave The Animal a glowing review.

The same effect can be achieved merely by using the various “quote whore” critics (e.g., Jeff Craig, “Sixty Second Preview”).

Actually, David Manning does exist–however, he is not a professional film critic for The Ridgefield Press, he’s just some friend of a Sony marketing hack (and obviously one with seriously low standards). These days, it’s hard to find a film ad that doesn’t have somebody liking it, so the blame goes to whomever trusts the opinion of, for all practical purposes, a stranger.

Which is why the Ridgefield Press (apparently a small weekly in Conneticut) should have a legal case. There are no professional credentials required for being a critic or reviewer, so Sony can quote anybody they like as one, but it is a patently false claim that he worked for The Ridgefield Press in any capacity whatsoever. I would find it highly amusing if the tiny weekly collected damages (Sony would almost certainly settle out of court).

Or by doing what the movie companies do best-editing the reviews so they sound good. (They do that, right?)

For example, let’s say a Manopold Smith of the Earth Tribune says, “The first part of this movie was great, but nothing else. If Filmocorp was to release the first ten minutes of this movie separately from the rest of this film, I would gladly pay to see this 100 times.”

Which Filmocorp would modify to:
THIS MOVIE WAS GREAT! I WOULD SEE THIS 100 TIMES!
-Manopold Smith, Earth Tribune

I thought NPR a coupla months ago was trying to actually locate an organization known as “Sixty Second Preview” and couldn’t. Something they found curious, since Jeff Craig (or whoever he is) is one of the most prolific reviewers out there for movies who can’t apparently muster any more recognizeable reviewers.

Does this thing exist? What is it? A magazine, a service, what?

The best strategy is to simply assume that any movie that uses Jeff Craig, or any unknown critic from the bottom of the food chain, must be rotten. Whenever I see a glowing review by some unknown at the Des Moines Free Press or something, I just assume that none of the reviews by any of the major critics were positive, or they would have used it.

If I were a movie company and all the major reviews said my movie stunk, I just wouldn’t post any reviews at all.

Jaysus H. Chrast, Dopeheads, I was only kidding!!! :slight_smile:

http://www.inside.com/jcs/Story?article_id=32597&pod_id=10

Well if nothing else, I’ve learned that as long as you live in the States, you can sue anyone for pretty much anything, no matter how stupid it is, or how much it was you are at fault.

So, Stupendous Man, you think that a company should be allowed to produce false advertisements without penalty?

Brought to you by AOL, “The best company ever made!”

–Tim

Believe it or not, somebody DID file a class action lawsuit. I got this from http://www.sfgate.com - the story about Sony suspending the guys responsible. (Link too large to paste):
>>Meanwhile, two moviegoers filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday against Sony over the fake critic blurbs.

Omar Rezec of Sherman Oaks and Ann Belknap of Sierra Madre claim in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that the ads fooled them into seeing “A Knight’s Tale.” They did not specify damages, but claimed to be filing the lawsuit on behalf of all<<

Notice that they filed a class action suit. That means that, if they win the suit, their lawyers get the money, and they, and anyone who joins the class, get a 50% off coupon to see a movie.

Where are the lawyer types: Could this be a ploy be Sony. Can a judge rule that all individual suits have to roll into this class action suit? That would save Sony money by preventing additional suits by movie goers. Sony then gets two tame movie goers to file suit against them and their tame film critic.

THat’s not what I said, but no matter what I said, when you go to a movie, no matter who liked or didn’t like it, you are still taking the risk that YOU won’t. Just becasue you agree with a particular critic most of the time, doesn’t mean that that critic will always share the same opinion with you.

I think that the studio should be fined a portion of the movie’s profits.