Rating the Super Bowl Commercials (2nd Quarter)

It’s time for the Super Bowl (playing on NBC), and advertisers pay very, very steeply to wave their wares in front of 100 million viewers.

Who enlisted A-list talent? (And who shopped a bargain with B-listers and below?) Who went for laughs? Who tugged at heartstrings? And who whipped out the always-reliable S-E-X?

Here is our quick take on the commercials from the 2nd Quarter of Super Bowl XLVI. (Refresh for updates.) Sound off on your favorites in Comments!

Super Bowl Commercials, 1st Quarter: Vampire Killers, Elton John
Goes to Court, the New M&M and an Apocalypse-Surviving Chevy

Budweiser | After spending the 1st quarter hawking their new hi-tech platinum brew, the folks at Anheuser-Busch return to their old-timey charming roots with a retro piece in which the delivery truck, complete with dalmatian mascot, overjoys a town with some fresh suds.

Doritos | Dad finds cat’s grave. Dog looks suspicious. Dog bribes Dad with Doritos to keep quiet. A bit dark, more than a bit funny.

Chevy Camaro | Kid thinks the ‘rents just gifted him with some hot wheels, when in fact it’s just a dorm fridge. The little touches (e.g. the domino effect of events that quickly follow, including marriage plans for the grad) kick it up a notch.

TaxACT.com | Young kid, spurred on by lawn sprinklers and the like, races out of pool to hit the potty, to no avail. Ultimately, he leaves himself “free” to just go ahead and do it… in the pool. And TaxACT.com is “free,” etcetera.

VW, “The Dog Strikes Back” | Ostensibly it’s about a dog who whips himself into shape in order to fit through the pet door and chase a shiny new Bug — and he does. But then, after you think it’s over, we cut to the Star Wars cantina, where one of the regulars gets duly choked by Darth Vader for deeming the new ad funnier than the one the Dark Lord starred in last year.  Matt never met a meta ad he didn’t love!

America’s Got Talent | The summertime series signals the arrival of Howard Stern by having the new judge blast dopey acts straight off the stage with a firehose. Effective, makes the point.

H&M | Admit it, ladies, they had you at “David Beckham in $15 briefs.” Here, watch it some more:

John Carter | Civil War soldier Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) gets transported to another planet where he gets mixed up in a whole other kind of battle. It looks to be rather wink-winky and not take itself seriously, which is a big plus in my book.

Coca-Cola | Again? At least it’s a pool-out. But still, fine, call me a polar bearist, but the fact is, these were “big” when that sorta CGI was so shiny and gee-whiz new. Now we have dinosaurs starring on a weekly TV show.

Chevy Sonic | The opening title card promises “100% Real Stunts” that should not be tried at home — and then the titular car goes goes on to skydive, bungee-jump, do a kick-flip and engage in other edgy antics. I’m sorry, what’s the point? If you want me to consider a Chevy coupe, try harder.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, in 3D | What should be an exciting announcement — the Star Wars films being re-released, now in aftermarket 3-D — instead comes off as a threat, since they’re leading off with Episode I. Sigh.

Teleflora | “Valentine’s Day is not that complicated,” Adriana Lima purrs, after slow-slow-slowly pulling up black stockings and zipping herself into an LBD, all while looking with appreciation at a just-delivered floral arrangement. “Give and you shall receive.” Oh, were it so easy, Ade. But great commercial.

Avengers | Iron Man? Good. Captain America? Good. Beef? Good. Seriously, this movie cant come out soon enough. The “circling” shot showing the whole team in defense formation was hot. Here’s the EXTENDED VERSION:

Doritos | Grandma gets back at brat being stingy with his Doritos by sling-shotting his baby bro into the treeh ouse to snatch the snack, then pulling him back. On par with the “Dog Killed Cat” predecessor from 1st Quarter.

E*TRADE | One of the more clever of the “E*TRADE Baby” I’ve seen, largely because of the witty banter. (“That’ll cost you upwards of [whistle]”). Plus, funny kicker with his buddy Bobby “speed-dating” in the nursery.

Skechers | Pug in Skechers wins dog race by many lengths, then rubs it in by stopping to moonwalk across the finish line. Very cute (if not directly applicable to the humans who will actually buy/wear the shoes).

Cars.com | Customer at auto dealership questions price tags, with counsel from his kinda-creepy “Confidence” — aka a second head jutting out from his, like, shoulder blades. Nope.

Hulu Plus, “Huluboratory” | The always-entertaining, never-serious Will Arnett takes us deep into the Men in Black-like Huluboratory where they’ve been developing Hulu Plus, a new service designed to deliver even more TV in more ways and plays, making your brain extra “mushy mushy.” There’s never any arguing with more access to TV!