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Super Bowl XLV: Best and worst commercials?

Presenting… Your Super Bowl Commercials of 2011, brought to you by Eminem. He LOST HIMSELF in not one but two major ad campaigns this year. During the first quarter, Claymation Eminem quenched his thirst with a refreshing Brisk iced tea; then just before halftime, super-intense human Eminem delivered a cross between a eulogy and a giant “eff you, pay attention” on behalf of the city of Detroit. And you thought he didn’t do commercials.

Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne finally had to find out what a Bieber was, Adrien Brody serenaded some crying/orgasmic women (Stella Artois), Faith Hill’s rack is huge (Teleflora), Timothy Hutton is really, really into Tibetan fish curry (Groupon.com), and Kim Kardashian’s ass (Shape-Ups) is ass usual. Plus, so many movie trailers, including J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s Super 8, Terra Nova, Thor, Cowboys & Aliens – starring Danny Craig and Indy Ford – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and a first look at Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. My five favorite commercials, after the break.

Chrysler, “Imported from Detroit” I liked the mystery of this. Was it about effort? American values? People were lifting things and there was figure skating, so it had to be something about drive and determination. Turns out: All of the above. It was about a CAR. Was anyone else getting antsy during the list of cities? “Now we’re from America. But this isn’t New York City, or the Windy City, or the Sin City… and we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City. Oh my God, what city is it? Tellllll meeeeeeeeee. And as the suspenseful pause was lifted, Eminem ran up onstage like a regular ol’ guest star on Glee and told us. “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”

VW Passat: The "Mini Darth Vader" kid got The Force to open the car... from his adorable dad's keys! The "whizzing beetle" one for the New Beetle was good, too. Good commercials should never say anything about the product; otherwise, how would we know the product was cool?

Motorola Xoom: In the words of Lucille Bluth, “I don’t know what that is, and I don’t care to find out.” But I’d watch this 1984-inspired, beautifully shot commercial again and again. Four times. Maybe. Whatever, the girl looked like Buffy.

NFL's "Best Fans Ever": For the "who cares about football; I just wanna watch good TV" voice in all of us... best brought to life by South Park's Eric Cartman: "We can't miss the commercials!"

House: Fox was really going for it with the House promos, likely because The Chicago Code premieres tomorrow right after it. Subbing in Hugh Laurie's cane of snark for a "Mean" Joe Green's jersey was a genius way to update the Super Bowl commercial we all remember even if we weren't alive. "Want a churro?"

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Also worth mentioning: Cars.com’s talking (internet-commenting, no less) cars, The X Factor’s ridiculous yet kiiiiiiind of amazing “pieces of Simon Cowell coming back together” spot set to “O Fortuna,” Kenny G.’s willingness to play the punchline again for Audi (Joan Rivers for GoDaddy was somewhat less of a surprise), Chevy’s wise targeting of Baby Boomers with its old folks’ home and Lassie-inspired spots, and Budweiser’s “Tiny Dancer” commercial, alternatively titled No Country for Almost Famous Men.

Burning questions:
–The Coke polar bears have evolved into (or from)………???
–Roseanne gets smacked with a log: So funny you forgot to laugh? (Snickers)
–Richard Lewis? (Snickers)
–Creepier baby: E-Trade talking baby or homeaway.com’s disgusting TEST BABY?
–“Cruze.” Really, Chevy?!

And here’s a handy tool: Check out this year’s Super Bowl commercials streaming on EW here after they air during the game.

What were the best and worst Super Bowl commercials? Name yours in the comments.

Read more:
Xtina vs. Lea: One flubbed her lines, but who did better?
Super Bowl Commercials: See ‘Em Here!
EW’s counter-programming guide
Puppy Bowl VII: Going to dogs?
20 Top Post-Super Bowl Shows
Super Bowl: 10 Halftime Classics
12 Best Super Bowl Ads Ever
16 NFL Stars in Movies

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Originally posted February 6 2011 — 6:15 PM EST

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