Movie Review: Super Size Me
Alternate Title: McBinge, McBurp, McDead
McStory: Director, writer and documentarian Morton Spurlock takes on the fast food industry, with heavy (no pun intended) emphasis on the McDonald's Corporation as he doggedly pursues the causes of the alarming obesity problem in the US. Yes, we like to be the biggest in the world in everything and we can now also brag about being the fattest!
Certainly Spurlock has been influenced by Michael Moore (bravo to him on his latest win in Cannes) and uses Moore's in your face, insert yourself into your own film technique. Spurlock has more on-screen, gee whiz charm than Moore and is therefore able to maintain his McMessage throughout the film.
Spurlock sets up his McRules from the beginning. He will eat only the food chain's offerings for 30 days. That includes all three meals of the day. If a counterperson offers him a 'super size' upgrade he will oblige that request. He also decides not to have any form of exercise during this 30 day period of time as he tries to mimic the behavior of our ever-growing couch McSpud population. Prior to his 30 day binge he sees several doctors for a through medical checkup.
There are no surprises as he gorges his way through this documentary. His 'vitals' skyrocket, he gains 25 pounds, he has wide mood swings, he becomes sexually dysfunctional and I got nauseous watching his downward spiral. We are offered many statistics, visuals, interviews and alarming images of fat Americans.
The film should be seen by one and all (it is a good jumping off point for those starting on a big pre-summer diet). It is gross to watch at times but in the end the message is easily digestible.
I went to see this film with two of my poker buddies. Gary is a McDonald's devotee and swears that in McModeration it is a fine place to eat. Both Marci and I turned down his request for an after film Big Mac Attack, plus film discussion. He told me lots about the corporation and than wowed me with statistics about them. I, in turn, told him that I had heard that people feel an almost religious type of experience when they enter a McDonald's across the land. Because like a house of worship, you know what you are getting when you enter. There are no surprises and no new experiences -- just the same old fatty experience.
McActing: Not applicable. It is a documentary.
McPredilection: I do not eat fast food and am usually repulsed when I walk past the McDonald's around the corner from my apartment. However, if truth be told...I do like their fries.
McCritters: None. I am not here to discuss the millions of cows who gave their lives for those billions served.
McFood: Needless to say all of the major fast food chains were represented and all of the offerings on McDonald's menu were shown and eaten. There were also some pretty gruesome meals ingested by our nation's schoolchildren.
McVisual Art: Lots of garish, funny, circus-like images.
McBlatant Product Placement: The obvious, of course. But for the three poker players in our little group we laughed when a deck of Bicycle Playing Cards was used as an example of what a 3 ounce serving of meat should look like.
McSoundtrack: A head bobbing funny soundtrack.
McOpening Titles: Exactly what I thought would be depicted. Lots of images colliding with one another.
McTheater Audience: We went to an early evening show on the upper West Side of Manhattan. (By the way, did I mention that Manhattan has 83 McDonald's restaurants?) It was a young, healthy looking crowd, some of who applauded at the end. We decided they were confirming 'our' collective agreement that we looked good and the rest of America looked fat. Who knows? All I know is it is always odd to me when people applaud in a film theater.
McQuirky Meter: 3
McSquirm Scale: The stomach by-pass surgery was GROSS.
McPredictability Level: High. By the way, it took Spurlock nine months to lose all of the weight.
McOscar Worthy: No.
McNit Picking: I wished that he had taken on the idea that this obesity problem is costing all of us lots of money because we are all paying for this through the soaring costs of health care.
McBig Screen or Rental: Super Size screen, please. How about renting Michael Moore's films Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine? You could also read Fast Food Nation.
McLength: Under two hours.
McLOBO HOWLS: 7