(Originally published in Rocky Mountain Bullhorn)
In case you thought McDonald’s was good for you, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me – a Sundance sensation about the hazards of our fast food obsession – is the fledgling documentarian’s wake-up call to you and the millions of other Americans patronizing the golden arches and its ilk. Spurlock, a Michael Moore type without the egotistical bombast, uses stats and animated graphics to eviscerate the industry that has cultivated our fatty, sugary national cuisine. And to resoundingly drive his greasy point home, the director pulls off one whopper of a cinematic gimmick: he records himself eating nothing but McDonald’s for thirty straight days, and Super Sizing his meal whenever asked.
Spurlock, originally a fit thirty-something New Yorker, sets out on his fast food binge as something of a lark, but after regurgitating his value meal on day three, the director begins to realize his stunt may actually be hazardous to his health, a fact eventually confirmed by the calamitous liver damage caused by his excessive consumption of nuggets and fries. Spurlock’s jaunty film exudes fervent outrage, and many vignettes – including a futile search for nutritional information at McDonald’s, as well as a montage of young overweight customers set to Wesley Willis’ “Rock ‘N Roll McDonald’s” – playfully detail our country’s growing obesity crisis. Yet the primary lure is Spurlock’s attention-grabbing regimen, and even if the director’s conclusions are obvious and his physical deterioration reckless, his film’s ability to convince McDonald’s to abandon Super Size meals suggests that one man’s insalubrious gorging might help shake the Mcfaithful out of their special sauce stupors.