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Fri May 21, 2004
Super Size Me
The most disgusting movie of the year
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
The most disgusting movie of the year is "Super Size Me" because overindulging in fast food is inherently disgusting, and watching Morgan Spurlock do just that for 96 minutes is equally so. Spurlock spent a month eating McDonald's for three squares a day with unsurprising results.
More than proving the danger to the liver and sex life, eating this much fast food shows once again that overdoing anything is usually detrimental to some part of a life. Spurlock had 3 physicians check him before he began, during the ordeal, and at the end (Do you get an idea of how dull the documentary can be at times?). Yet it has moments of humor, as when Spurlock cries out his pain in super-sized expletives.
What good is it to endanger your liver and your lover? The corporation discontinued the super-sized menus after the release of the documentary; this is a good thing. What is not good, however, is that Spurlock is the center of all activity, and he is not sufficiently charismatic to carry it off.
Spurlock seems almost quixotic as he faces the criticism of the doctors, who believe he may be irreparably damaging his liver, and his supportive girlfriend, who suffers from the impairment of his sexual appetite. Yet, when McDonald's announces discontinuance of its super- sizing promotion, his quest becomes a victory.
The documentary also briefly touches on the argument about personal responsibility versus corporate guilt. Moreover, in his voiceover for the credits, Spurlock answers the most obvious criticism that his eating Mickey D' for every meal is egregious and compromising to objective analysis by remarking there are people who eat fast food regularly, some daily as he did. After a few photos of overweight Americans, his documentary suddenly is heroic, albeit still disgusting to watch.
Because Spurlock's production company is called "The Con," and he could have gained 20 pounds overeating anything, I suspect he may have more in mind than helping his fellow Americans. As Brecht said, "Grub first, then ethics." Actually Spurlock has the ego but not the charm of Michael Moore ("Bowling for Columbine"), the showmanship but not the depth of Earl Morris ("Fog of War"). I would much rather have Moore on the screen even if he looks like someone who eats fast food more than once a month.
This review is downsized in honor of all those Americans whose weight will fall and health rise because of "Super Size Me."
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com.