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Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman had a rap battle on behalf of PepsiCo, Inc. brands

In which we wonder the age-old question: How good could Peter Dinklage be as an emcee if he really tried?

Peter Dinklage is a marvel. Morgan Freeman is a marvel. The idea for this Doritos/Mountain Dew commercial was to spend enough coin to get both of of them in an ad, and it was inspired. Look at me, the cynical idiot charged with snarkily reviewing Super Bowl commercials who is making a concerted effort to say, “No, Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman are cool, don’t worry. Not going to sink that low with my jokes.”

But now you have two actors who might combine for the best net favorability rating in the business. Now what?


It’s a combined brand effort from the good folks at Ohgodijustingestedwhat, LLC, a subsidiary of PepsiCo! And it’s Dinklage spitting literal fire until Freeman cools him down! It would take an awful lot to screw that up.

Start with the obvious: People will remember this ad, which means it doesn’t matter what you think. All of my thoughts are useless. All of your opinions are meaningless. Dinklage lip-syncing to Busta Rhymes will rewire the nation’s tiny peabrain, and we will all run out to buy [squints] whatever the hell a Doritos Blaze is. I think it’s a mid-size sedan. On that front, the spot is a success.

I can’t help but wonder the obvious question, though: How long would it have taken for Dinklage to do a serviceable Busta Rhymes impression in his own voice? I’m not suggesting that he took a week off to sound just as impressive as an emcee who’s lived and breathed hip-hop his entire life. That would be way, way, way too dismissive of the art he would be trying to mimic.

But how long would it have taken for America to think, “Waaaaaaait, is that really his voice? Did he do that? DID PETER DINKLAGE JUST DO THAT?” Maybe a month. Maybe a year. Maybe a week. I don’t know, but it would have been an absolute crusher of a commercial if they could have pulled it off. We already know Harry Potter can do Blackalicious well enough to impress the masses:

I don’t think I would listen to a Daniel Radcliffe album. But I know enough to think, “damn, I sure can’t do that.”

That would have been the sweet spot for Dinklage. Getting him built up just enough to make you amazed that he took enough time out of his busy career to do that. We know he’s a master of mimicry and wearing the skin of whomever he chooses. Could he fake 10 seconds of verbal gymnastics well enough to make the world swoon?

We’ll never know. Alas.

As is, the timing was pretty good. He bit the chip, and I didn’t know what was coming and then, OH. That shock is the point. The lip-syncing was nailed, and the production values were Super Bowl ad-esque, but nothing will beat that shock of wondering what Dinklage was going to do next and getting a quick answer.

When it comes to the Freeman part, I’m ... less curious about how he would do with that Missy Elliot song. By that, I mean I’m VERY CURIOUS, but I understand why that wouldn’t have made for a great ad. The lip-syncing works, the song is great, and Freeman is fun.

Still, you have to wait until the commercial has five seconds left until you hear Freeman’s voice. That’s like hiring Sam Elliott for a commercial and showing him from the nose up for most of it. You just paid millions to hire the Voice Of God, and you leave him with a five-second voiceover at the end? For shame. He didn’t even get to say the official Mountain Dew Ice slogan (“It probably won’t make you sterile”).

And yet these are nitpicky complaints. This is a commercial with two of the most commanding screen presences in Hollywood today. It was memorable. You already know the answer to the next question

Is this commercial worth $15.4 million?

Oh god that money could fund so many improvements for schools that need them what is wrong with this society this is the tipping point that Engels and Marx were talking about we’re all doomed, I mean, haha, yes. Of course it was worth the money! This will sell a lot of chips and soda. Buy chips and soda, you filthy gibbon.

And I’m a gonna guess this will be a popular commercial on Super Bowl Sunday. Considering how much money was spent on the production and the time slot, it had better be.

Click here for the rest of SB Nation’s Super Bowl commercial reviews