Connecticut Probes Bogus Film Reviews

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s state attorney general said Tuesday he has begun an investigation into phony movie reviews of Sony Pictures Entertainment films by a nonexistent film critic.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office has received several complaints, ranging from false reviews to selective editing of reviews to produce favorable blurbs. “We give this practice two thumbs down,” Blumenthal said. “It could be deceptive and misleading advertising.”

The attorney general said his office would issue subpoenas if necessary to determine whether the complaints are valid. The probe comes after a reporter for Newsweek challenged the authenticity of movie blurbs by film critic “David Manning” of the Ridgefield Press, who has been a consistent booster of Sony Pictures films.

Someone at Sony concocted glowing blurbs from the fictitious reviewer, a studio spokeswoman said Sunday. “It was a case of incredibly bad judgment,” said Sony spokeswoman Susan Tick. “We’re taking all the steps necessary to determine who’s been responsible and will act appropriately.”

The Ridgefield Press, a small weekly newspaper in Connecticut, was unaware that its name was being used in the ads, Newsweek reported. Tick said Tuesday the investigation is continuing, but no evidence has emerged of additional false movie reviews.

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