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Super Size Me
2004 - unrated - 96 Mins.
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Producer: J.R. Morley and Heather M. Winters
Written By: Morgan Spurlock
Starring: Morgan Spurlock
Review by: Bill King
   

Your mcblood pressure is getting too high
I walked into "Super Size Me" with a bag of ammunition that I was ready to hurl at this documentary about the ill-effects of fast food. When it was over, I had no reason to react with a negative attitude. Amazingly, Morgan Spurlock presents both sides of the issue in an informative and sometimes entertaining manner. The film doesn't turn out to be the slanderous tripe that some have labeled it. I'm guilty of initially dismissing the movie as such, but I always kept an open mind, and by doing so I realized that Spurlock makes valid points without overbearing the audience with nothing but bad news.

Morgan Spurlock challenged himself to eat nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days. He wanted to examine the possible repercussions of a fast food binge and test the restaurant's theory that its food can be part of a balanced diet. After 30 days, his health deteriorated dramatically. His cholesterol was sky high, his liver nearly failed and he weighed over 200 pounds, after weighing 185 pounds at the start of the experiment. His girlfriend reveals that their sex life suffered due to his fatigue.

This isn't a publicity stunt. Spurlock tries to root out the reasons behind the growing trend of obesity in the United States, and he labels fast food as the most likely culprit. He has a theory, and like any good documentarian, he digs up evidence to support his claim. He does more than eat fast food for 30 days and record the results. He talks with dieticians and gathers statistics, all of which he intertwines with his ongoing experiment. Traveling to various parts of the country, Spurlock interviews employees and customers and visits school cafeterias, trying to get to the bottom of American's love for fast food. One segment includes a school that contracted food service to the lowest bidder - a company that supplies high-fat lunches to students.

Spurlock tries to be fair as well. He raises the point that everyone is free to choose to eat fast food, and customers should exercise a fair amount of responsibility. The flaw in his 30-day binge is that customers don't force themselves to go to McDonald's, like he did. Customers choose to go whenever they feel like it. Nonetheless, there is sanity in his decision to indulge. The misery that Spurlock experienced after 30 days could simply take longer to happen to someone who goes out four or five times a week.

I did appreciate Spurlock's decision to interview Don Gorske, the Guiness record holder for most Big Macs consumed (over 19,000). Gorske has eaten two Big Macs per day for years. He has low cholesterol and weighs about average for someone of his age and height. I think Spurlock should have researched Gorske's story further and provided us a reason for his good health, but suffice it to say that Don Gorske is proof that McDonald's can be part of a healthy diet.

I believe that. I also believe that lawsuits against McDonald's for making people fat should be thrown out. Self-discipline and parents properly educating their children are the key to thinner waistlines, not the courtroom. I won't avoid McDonald's as a result of watching this film, and Spurlock isn't trying to say we should never go there again. He stresses the downside to fast food, but he also makes it clear that personal responsibility is a factor. He leans more towards the fast food industry as the reason behind America's weight problem than consumer choice, but he's not so far over that his documentary is one-sided. "Super Size Me" is informative, but also humorous and at times disgusting. I could have done without the graphic stomach operation that an overweight man undergoes (be warned), but overall Spurlock is sincere and genuinely concerned about the problem of obesity.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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