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USA 2004
Directed by
Morgan Spurlock
96 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
4 stars

Super Size Me

Synopsis: Morgan Spurlock is a fit and healthy young man weighing in at 185 lb. Inspired by a lawsuit in which obese girls sued McDonalds, he decides to eat nothing but Maccas for 30 days. The results are terrifying and the film he made documenting his experience is not only alarming, but also informative and at times, hilarious.

The title of Super Size Me refers to one of the three rules of Morgan Spurlock’s experiment:
1.He could only eat what was on the McMenu for 30 days and not a morsel else,
2.When offered the option to “Super Size” he had to accept
3.Every item on the menu had to be consumed at least once in the 30 days.

Without being obtrusively didactic, Spurlock manages to infuse his film with an endless array of daunting facts. When the audience actually first saw the magnitude of the Super Size fizzy drink, there was an audible collective gasp which set the tone for further shocking revelations throughout. (example: Super Size 2 litre drinks are equal to 48 spoons of sugar in one slurping!) The medical revelations are the biggest enlightenment, with the three doctors overseeing Spurlock’s progress shocked at the deterioration of his body and the dramatic test results after only two weeks of the eating binge.

Spurlock has a great sense of humour and his easygoing, likeable personality makes this a very easy film to watch. Amusing moments range from his childlike glee on Day 1 when, laden with drinks and fries and thrusting his burger into the camera, he fulfils his deepest “Mac fantasy”, through to his first experience of total Super Size overindulgence, at which he visibly pales and blurts out such words as “McGas”, “McQueasiness” and McVomit”.

The visuals ram the point home: super-sized bottoms waddling to the tune of “Fat Bottomed Girls”, obese people only able to ambulate with motorised scooters, and queues of overweight school kids loading their lunch trays with fast food.

The film-making style never allows for boredom – there is regular alternation from serious analysis of the medical data and interviews with Spurlock’s specialists, through to light-hearted video-clip style McRomps in various MacMeccas. Interviews with Spurlock’s vegan girlfriend add another layer, as she reports on his declining libido and her serious worries for long term health damage. The attitudes expressed by your average American schoolkid, whilst being entertaining, hopefully also constitute an alarming wake-up call to those responsible for the welfare of these kids.

Critics of this film have argued that no-one would subsist on such a diet for so long, but of course they are missing the vital point – burgeoning obesity in this slack-arse, fast food world is becoming a critical health threat. This film forces us to consider the responsibility (and culpability) of corporate giants for thrusting messages down the throats (so to speak) of the young and gullible. All in all, Super Size Me offers a most entertaining outing of food for thought.




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