NEW YORK Thugs, boats, and helicopters—what a novel way to say “Volvo commercial!” “The Meeting,” the 60-second tour de force from new agency Arnold, is very cinematic, I’ll give it that. And obviously big budget. But huh? The best I can discern is that the high falutin’ helicopter/car chase action is supposed to be some subtle parody of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which itself referred to a million other movies, including True Lies. It opens with a gorgeous female operative on a yacht lunching with some deeply creepy thugs. (I don’t get what they’re supposed to represent, but I have a feeling that Mexico might take offense.) She gets a text message (so the spot could easily be for some glamorous new phone) and says, “Gotta run.” That’s because the helicopter is literally picking her up at sea—she jumps on a ladder and hangs on. Meanwhile, the action only seems more pointless and inscrutable as her lover boy is shown racing through town in his S80 281 T6 to exchange narrow manila envelopes with a seamy back room dealer. She hops off the helicopter, he parks his car, proffers the diamond necklace that was in the envelope, and says the only funny line in the piece, “Happy Anniversary, Pudding.” “Life is better lived together” is the tagline. Needless to say, sure hope the auto engineering is better than the plot mechanics. Although by the end, I was hungry for pudding.
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