Super Size Me (12A)

Film image
Director
Morgan Spurlock
Starring
Morgan Spurlock

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner09/09/2004

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Thought-provoking, horrifying and hilarious in equal measure, this is an extremely enjoyable film that marks Spurlock out as a talent to watch.

Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me is a documentary that’s firmly within the Michael Moore tradition of Sticking It To The Man – one senses that Moore himself would be proud. Having been lauded at various festivals, the film went on to be a huge box-office success in the States, inspiring a series of McDonald’s ads that actually made it look like they were running scared.

After a successful UK debut at the Edinburgh Film Festival, it finally opens here this week and is expected to reap similar box office success.

Devastatingly Simple Idea

The idea is a devastatingly simple one. Inspired by the McLibel case, in which the McLawyers argued that it had not been proved that an exclusive “McDiet” (the lawyers actually used the word “McDiet”) was harmful to your health, 32 year old New York film-maker Morgan Spurlock decides he’s going to eat nothing but McDonald’s food for a month and film the results.

He also set himself a few rules: he had to eat three meals a day, he had to eat every item on the menu at least once and if a staff member asked him if he wanted to ‘Super Size’ his meal, he had to say yes. He also restricts himself to walking no more than a mile a day and stops exercising for the duration.

Throughout the thirty days, Spurlock receives regular check-ups from a team of doctors, specialists and nutritionists. In the beginning, he is given a clean bill of health. However, the pressure of finishing his first Super Sized meal causes him to vomit out of his car window and it’s downhill from there; he gains ten pounds in five days and soon suffers chest pressure and headaches.

His vegan-chef girlfriend Alex complains that their sex-life has suffered – his libido has dropped and she has to go on top. After three weeks, his horrified doctors are begging him to stop, because his liver is showing signs of toxic shock, as if he’d been binge-drinking for three weeks instead. Spurlock then cuts to a shot of himself resignedly tucking into yet another cheeseburger.

Packed With Facts And Figures

That the film works as well as it does is largely down to the likeable, wise-cracking personality of Spurlock himself. In addition, he genuinely enjoys fast food – there’s a disturbing moment when he realises that he’s actually addicted to it and feeling highs and lows as a result.

The film is also packed full of various facts and figures and Spurlock cleverly uses both music and animation to make his points: there’s a terrific sequence about the way in which McDonald’s food is marketed to children, which features a series of shots of Ronald McDonald cut to Curtis Mayfield’s classic “Pusherman”. (Spurlock’s response: “If I ever have a kid, every time we drive past a McDonald’s, I’m going to smack him round the back of the head”).

In short, Super Size Me is a highly entertaining documentary that will certainly make you question your fast-food intake and is liable to make all your non-McDonald’s-eating friends make smug faces and say, “I told you so”. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 22/10/2017 00:24

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