Super Size Me

a film by Morgan Spurlock

For all its performance art pranks and bellyfull gross-out excapades, Super Size me ends up falling flat on its Yea-we-already-knew-that ass. Yes fast food is bad for you! No, we are not going to stop eating it! There is a binding legal reason why all those fastidious lawsuits super-imposed by a coupla overweight over-eaters aimed at fast food joints were thrown out of court: Stupidity! Everyone knows fast food is unhealthy but it's addictive as hell, just like cigarettes are bad for you but look at how many people smoke them.

Now don't get me wrong, Morgan Spurlock shoves a lot of real information at us during his thirty day McBinge of eating three meals a day at McDonalds, and McDonalds only, but it's nothing new. Spurlock is entertaining, sort of a lightweight (excuse the pun) Michael Moore, but all this adds up to is a somewhat witty but mainly pointless exercise in futility. With all this Atkins-Cult hoopla over counting carbs, everybody realizes how bad fast food is for you, but not everybody really cares enough to stop. I wouldn't call myself fat but I am overweight and I know why: I eat junk food and don't get enough exercise. I don't need Morgan Spurlock telling me that. I know this and do make a vain attempt at losing the extra poundage once and a while (and for the record: I don't even like McDonalds food, I'm a Burger King / Wendy's kinda guy, but I suppose you're going to tell me that's bad for you too!?).

But then again, some things in this film were of interest, if only for the entertaining value of them. Like when a group of young school children are shown various pictures of famous people in history, only Ronald McDonald is unanimously heralded as a common face (the other "unknown" figures were George Washington and Jesus Christ, who one little girl mistook for George W. Bush). Spurlock is an entertainer, even if a (pun) small fry version of one, and this film lacks the power that it should bring, due to the scaled-down easiness of its demeanor and its Mtv generation shallowness. C'mon buddy, give us something new to work with.

But for all my (again a pun) belly-aching about the movie, there was one organization that was definately affected by this film: Ray Croc's beloved Mickey D's. After Super Size Me debuted at Sundance (where Spurlock was awarded Best Director) McDonalds discontinued its Super Sized massive meals and instead began to offer more "health conscious" menu items full of salads and even a complimentary pedometer. Of course this hasn't changed anything, as the McDonalds chicken salad with ranch dressing actually has MORE fat in it than a Big Mac. All Spurlock has accomplished with this film is to write his own ticket toward a "spin-off" series which will air on Mtv in the Fall.

There is someone Morgan Spurlock could have looked toward for a more assertive and thoroughly packaged film, because for all the propagandistic name-calling that enswirls Michael Moore as a Documentarian (and let me go on the record here as naming myself as one of his legion of left winged supporters), he is one of the most entertaining crazy men to ever hold a camera (even if he may omit where it suits his agenda), and it is from this mold that Spurlock should have taken a few bites of advice. Where he should have gone deeper is the political and social ramifications of why the US is the fattest nation on the planet. We are shown the atrocities of this country's school lunch program but before we can even (again a pun) digest this information, this Joe Rogan-Johnny Knoxville hybrid is shoving another Big Mac down his self-serving gullet. Amusing but not really necessary. [06/20/04]