Reviewing the Super Bowl commercials

“Name me your top five Super Bowl plays,” Bob Horowitz, the executive producer of the annual “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials was saying before the weekend.” And then name me your top five Super Bowl ads.”

Point well taken, since everyone can usually list five great commercials from a single Super Bowl – particularly when the game’s a dog.

Super Bowl XLV was no dog, once again winding us down to the final monutes.

But the commericials?

The dogs were barking.

Perhaps it was the economy, perhaps simply the temptation to imitate proven formulas, but the commercials of Super Bowl XLV were by and large variations of well-known franchises.

Instead of Betty White getting clobbered before fed a Snickers, it was Roseanne Barr. Instead of a moaning Abe Vigoda, it was a whiny Richard Lewis.

Instead of a dog cleverly switching his zap collar with a mean-spirited Dorito-eating punk, we had a pug charging a mean-spirited Dorito-eating punk standing behind a storm door.

The E-Trade baby was back, cooing to his elderly tailor, a little older himself.

One Epic Ride? A lot of special effects. Very little plot.

Overall, creativity nosedived this year. There were even commercials, like GoDaddy’s re-use of Danica Patrick as a hotty that poked fun at that. And the Joan Rivers touch was nice.

So too was the Best Buy bit with Justin Bieber acting like the next Ozzy Ozbourne. and House firing his cane off a kid was a nice twist to the old Mean Joe Green Pepsi ad.

But Stella Artois bit with Adrien Brody crooning as girls cry. Well, hasn’t Budweiser done something like this, say 1,000 times before?

The winners? For me, the big-production Budweiser Western – which Horowitz said cost more than any of the others produced for the $3 million, 30-second spots – was a winner. Nothing more fun or surprising than a crusty gunslinger leading a chorus of “Tiny Dancer.”

And monkeys wedging some poor sap into his parking spot to highlight was funny. As every circus knows, you can’t go wrong with monkeys behind the wheel.

My number one? The Volkswagen “Force” ad for originality and simplicity. Maybe because a similar thing used to happen between my three children and their late grandfather, I loved the kid’s reaction when his use of the force, tried unsuccessfully on the mind of his dog, an exercise bike, the washer and dryer and a doll, finally starts the car – with the help of his dad’s automatic starting key.

Number One for this year.

All time? Not a chance.