Published May 01, 2004Cut from the same cloth as recent documentary successes Bowling for Columbine and The Corporation, Super Size Me is a humour-laden look at the obesity trend in the U.S.A. and the culpability of the fast food industry. In the wake of a lawsuit aimed at McDonald's about the detrimental effect of eating their food, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock documents his own journey of eating nothing but McDonald's for one month. What starts out as a light-hearted experiment turns a bit scary once the diet starts wreaking serious havoc on Spurlock's health and wellbeing. Interspersed with Spurlock's personal observations are an impressive array of interviews with doctors and lawyers, lobbyists and nutritionists, Big Mac enthusiasts and vegan chefs.
Shot on video, the production is pretty bare bones. Aside from the filler footage of random fat people, which grows tiresome pretty quickly, the camera work is solid and the editing is fast and clever, chock full of the ironic juxtapositions that are a staple of this kind of documentary. The film attempts to cover a lot of ground, touching on the nutritional value of school lunch programs, the lack of physical education programs, the prevalence of weight loss surgery, the corporate lobby in Washington and much more. Although these interviews are packed with interesting facts and data, by far the most compelling aspect of this film is Spurlock's personal diet experience. He's an affable guy who approaches the project with curiosity and more than a little glee, which makes his health's downward spiral all the more affecting. Just watching his growing addiction to the food, wild mood swings and declining physical state makes the case against the McDiet far more eloquently than listening to the leading experts or even to Spurlock's own didactic final speech. (Alliance Atlantis)