Worth A Look: 27.85%
Pretty Bad: 1.27%
Total Crap: 5.7%
9 reviews, 104 user ratings
|Super Size Me
by Scott Weinberg
Enlightened. Educated. Entertained. It's not many documentaries that can pull off a trifecta like this and leave you giddy with enthusiasm. Following the screening of Morgan Spurlock's fantastic "Super Size Me", there were movie critics and press folks standing around and talking about the lessons we'd learned, and (more importantly) the brilliantly breezy way in which we'd been educated. Half comedy and half gastronomical tragedy, 'Super Size Me' is absolutely one of the most enjoyable documentaries I've ever seen. Yeah, ever."Hey, I'm gonna eat nothing but McDonald's food for an entire month. Three meals a day without fail. Of only foods that are offered on a McDonald's menu. And I have to 'super size' my intake if and when I'm ever asked to! As good ideas go, how's that one sound?"
"The Movie Ronald McDonald Doesn't Want You to See!!!"
One can only imagine how many times Morgan Spurlock has had that conversation over the past few years. Inspired by a rather silly court case in which two obese young women sued McDonald's for making them so fat, Spurlock sets off on a scathing (yet still somewhat affectionate) indictment of everything "Mc". Not content to merely 'talk to the experts' regarding the nutritional value of McDonald's fare, Spurlock puts his mortality where his mouth is.
Unless there was some major cheating going on in the movie (which in no way seems to be the case), Morgan really does eat nothing but McFood for one full month...three times a day...'super sized' when asked.
And coming from a writer who adores McFries, I still gotta say...ew. The fact that Morgan gains nearly ten pounds in the first week alone is a clear indication as to where we're headed.
And if you're someone who eats McDonald's more than once a week or so, Super Size Me is full of information and revelations that you may be happier not knowing. Although the movie is crisp and colorful and quite good-humored, the bottom line is this: fast food is poison, one that is proven to be fatal when taken in large doses. It's a fact. Next to smoking, obesity is the #1 cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. And where do you think most cases of obesity come from?
Big Macs, Whoppers and Frosties. That's where.
But Morgan's month-long mastication marathon of the macabre is only half the story. Not satisfied to just kick back and enjoy a month's worth of junk food, Morgan instead hits the road to locate subjects that focus on the American state of nutrition...or stunning lack thereof.
Our intrepid eater gets a resoundingly clean bill of health from three doctors and two nutritionists. The health-care professionals grow less jovial and more dire every time he drops in for a check-up. The result is a transformation that's as sobering as it probably is familiar; who hasn't spent a weekend eating mostly crap...only to come out feeling like a lethargic zombie afterwards?
Super Size Me is not a movie to rest on one clever conceit; Morgan travels the countryside in an effort to get the straight dope on Modern America's waistline, and clearly it's pretty bad news across the board. College professors explain why the wall-to-wall proliferation of "fast food culture" is so omnipresent and powerful; school district nutritionists struggle to feed their students something other than corn syrup and calories; a few surgeons drop by to offer a candid look at 'weight loss through surgery'; heck, Morgan's even lucky enough to meet up with "Big Mac Enthusiast" Don Gorske as he eats his 10,000th burger. (Ironic that Don would turn out to be a skinny fella.)
If the goal of a documentary film is to educate or enlighten its audience, then Super Size Me is a resounding success in every sense of the word. Spurlock treats his audience with wit and intelligence; his kinetic directorial style and consistent attention to the sad, twisted humor of the situation are what make the film so endlessly appealing. Engage your audience and make them laugh, and whatever message you're trying to impart will hit home so much more effectively.I can't imagine that the fine folks at McDonald's Inc. are all that happy about 'Super Size Me', but it's my sincerest hope that this movie plays in every town across America. I'd even go so far as to call it REQUIRED VIEWING for every American with greasy fingers and a rapidly expanding belt size. This flick will teach you things, it will make you laugh, and it may actually add a few years onto your life. Not bad for one movie, eh?
link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8631&reviewer=128
originally posted: 02/02/04 08:29:37
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.