What 2017's Celeb Super Bowl Ads Have In Common

by S. Atkinson

I've reviewed all of the Super Bowl commercials as part of my tireless commitment to my job. I undertook this strenuous research just for you, and yes, I'm both a hero and a scientist. My in-depth conclusion? The best 2017 celebrity Super Bowl commercials all have one key thing in common: They show a famous figure making fun of themselves. In other words, these stars have a sense of humor. This isn't entirely unexpected. For one thing, adverts that tend to stick in your brain long after viewing are the funniest ones. Just line up one of Peyton Manning's Nationwide commercials if you don't believe me.

And secondly, America as a nation is still in the throes of a lifelong crush on Jennifer Lawrence, she of the endless humility and adorable, klutzy "I'm such a dork!" moments. Presumably any celeb worth their salt would love to generate a similarly rabid level of loyalty from their audiences as Lawrence, and perhaps this explains why names as esteemed as the likes of John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich, Places In The Heart, In the Line of Fire) and Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters, Bridesmaids, The Heat) are so eager to make fun of themselves on screen. Or heck, maybe I'm overanalyzing this. Maybe these celebrities just wanted to make commercials that were genuinely fun for their audiences to watch. Whatever the case, these commercials rock.


John Malkovich: "Calling JohnMalkovich.com"

In this ad for Squarespace, Malkovich starts off calm, but gets increasingly irate as he tries to bargain with a fishing blogger for his domain name back. "Get out of my name" is a beautiful line that I want tattooed on the undersides of my eyelids so I can gaze at it a little longer. Well played, Squarespace.


Adam Driver: "Live Horse Casting"

So, I don't actually know how this advert is going to play out in full at the time of writing. There's every chance his live commercial will continue the Snickers "You're Not You When You're Hungry Campaign" which centers on characters that don't fit the scene turning out to be their "hungry personality" and their transforming back to being their real selves through the power of Snickers (like their commercial starring Betty White as a hungry football player), I'm going to go ahead and speculate Driver will play a character who will transform back into a beautiful young woman after a Snickers.


Melissa McCarthy: "Hero's Journey"

This commercial is the best, satirizing that thing so many celebrities are guilty of: thinking that because they're famous, they're amazing activists. McCarthy has no problem with coming off like an enthused-but-clueless activist, going from cause to cause with very little knowledge about them and failing to assist in any way. Kia's argument is, of course, that there's a far easier way to help save the environment: Drive one of their fuel-efficient vehicles.


Peter Fonda: "Easy Driver"

Me likey. It makes fun of Baby Boomers, who are now too shortsighted to pick out a tune on the jukebox without their reading glasses and it also makes fun of their '60s icon, Peter Fonda, kinda. I mean, you're not going to be shaking with laughter at the keen satire, but the fact that Fonda has now sold out and drives a sleek Mercedes instead of a hog (as he did in his most famous role in Easy Rider) will at least induce a wry smile.


Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Missy Elliott, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Robert Redford, Magic Johnson, Stan Lee, & Jimmy Kimmel: "Yearbooks"

These celebrities show some serious commitment to making fun of themselves by offering up their yearbook photos. Some aren't that bad (Missy Elliott, you were adorable), while others require more courage on the celebrity's part (Tina Fey, I worship you, but what was with the weird rose?). The point? That you should believe in yourself even if you have a haircut that makes you look like a Lego man. Heck, especially if you have a haircut that makes you look like a Lego man, because nobody else will.


Justin Bieber: "#UnlimitedMoves With Justin Bieber"

So, OK. Historically, we've found that Bieber takes himself very seriously, which is also fine, because he's making some of the most solid pop music of our era and wouldn't you be a little serious if you were kind of a genius? Here, he gives it his best shot, attempting to join in a goofy dance-off. Still: the moment he monotones, "Nice moves, kid," your soul might wither a little. All the same, he scores a 10 out of 10 for effort.


Jason Statham & Gal Gadot: "Big Game Ad"

Statham is known for starring in any number of movies where he's a tough guy who beats up hordes of violent men before breakfast, while Gadot is best known for playing Gisele Yashar in The Fast and the Furious film series and Wonder Woman, so she's also mostly associated with kicking ass and looking great while doing so.

Here, they bust up a restaurant and Gadot gets to deliver one of those winky post-fight one liners that Buffy always used to drop. It's all very tongue in cheek, given the roles we associate this pair with, and this time it's not done in service of a blockbuster movie, but for a website-building service.


Tom Brady: "Brady Everyday"

New England Patriots quarterback Brady is so chill about looking a little silly that he even lets Intel use their 360 degree technology on him to go for a close-up, 360 replay of his most mundane moments, whether he's brushing his teeth or eating pancakes that were dropped on the floor. Color me impressed: This is a big deal for a member of the selfie generation.