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flick pick | Super Size Me 2004
Directed by: Morgan Spurlock
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: documentary
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: darkly comic, true?!?
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis In a sort of Jackass- inspired moment of dumb brilliance, thirty-something meat-lover Morgan Spurlock decides to go on a thirty-day, all-McDonald's diet, just to see what will happen. The rules are simple: he'll eat three meals a day at the Golden Arches, have to try out every item on the menu at least once, and can't exercise any more than the average American for the duration of his experiment (basically, not at all). In addition to documenting his efforts on film, Spurlock enlists the help of three doctors and a dietitian, to give him the go-ahead on his crazy plan, and to keep an eye on his vital stats throughout the course of the diet. Saying good-bye to his vegan chef girlfriend's cooking for a month, Spurlock boldly sets forth, at first plunging into his fatty-delicious Mc-meals with glee. But the novelty of all that grease and sugar soon begins to lose its appeal. Just days into his experiment, this formerly fit young guy starts looking mighty bloated and feeling lethargic. More alarming, however, are the withdrawal-like symptoms he begins to experience between meals, and the short-lived burst of happiness he feels upon biting into yet another Big Mac. His doctors become concerned, too, when tests reveal that not only are his weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels ballooning far faster than anyone would have predicted, but his once-healthy liver is rapidly degenerating into something resembling pate -- the sort of state you'd expect in a serious alcoholic. Despite pressure from health professionals, his girlfriend, and his own common sense -- all telling him he should stop before the damage becomes irreversible -- Spurlock soldiers on with his diet. Along the way he delves into McDonald's the corporation, our nation's love of fast food, and how it all ties into our rising obesity problem.

Review Morgan Spurlock basically comes from the Michael Moore school of documentary: he's made a highly entertaining, thought-provoking nonfiction film that makes little attempt to provide a fair and balanced look at the issue at hand. But Spurlock's approach is a whole lot, well, nicer than Moore's (whose work, don't get me wrong, I generally like). Even when Spurlock's skewering the company for pushing food that's really, really bad for you out onto the all-too-eager American public, there's something kind of genial about how he goes about making his point. Spurlock never comes across as thinking he's better than anyone else or knows any more, and that makes Super Size Me a very fun movie to watch, no matter whether you're pissed off at the fast food industry for being so disingenuous about what they do, or whether you're thinking Spurlock's being a little unfair for focusing solely on McDonalds. (This movie would have a completely different and probably somewhat annoying tone if Spurlock were a self-righteous health food fanatic, like, say, his vegan girlfriend.) I don't think anything in Super Size Me is going to be terribly shocking to most folks -- news flash, fast food is horrifyingly calorific and nearly devoid of nutritional content, and eating it on a regular basis is pretty damn dumb -- but this is a cleverly crafted, very funny film that probably will make you think twice next time you find yourself seized by the urge for a Big Mac, French fries, and a Coke. —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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