Super Size Me

Super Size Me


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Inevitably, Morgan Spurlock's documentary examination of American popular culture has been compared with Michael Moore's much-hyped Fahrenheit 9/11, which is unfortunate for both of them, since they're very different films with different aims. Curiously, Super Size Me is by far the more effective propaganda piece. Whilst its central attack on the McDonalds food empire may have attracted some political controversy, its anti-obesity message is naturally easy to digest, and raises the notion that perhaps propaganda can sometimes be appropriate. Certainly, the teenagers in the audience with whom I saw this will think twice before ordering their next extra large happy meal. Super Size Me gave them a chance to express horror and disgust at the effects of overeating without needing to worry about being politically correct.

Super Size Me is a rare thing - a piece of deliberate art which communicates effectively to the masses, entertaining and provoking in equal measures. It follows the director's attempt to live on nothing but McDonalds' food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for thirty days, against the advice of his increasingly anxious doctors. Spurlock is more personable than Moore to begin with, and his personal commitment to his cause (whatever the motivations behind it) easily attracts audience sympathy. Although the film is packed with information, it proceeds at an accessible pace and is full of easy humour. Besides its central story, it covers a range of issues surrounding the obesity epidemic in America, and is refreshingly positive in suggesting solutions, many of them already attempted on a small scale.

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Super Size Me is not fashionably cynical (beyond a certain point), nor particularly incisive, but it isn't trying to be. What it does, it does very well. It is bold and to the point, and highly memorable.

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2007
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Super Size Me packshot
Documentary filmmaker acts as guinea pig in fast food experiment.
Amazon link

Read more Super Size Me reviews:

Amber Wilkinson *****
David Haviland ****
Darren Amner ****

Director: Morgan Spurlock

Writer: Morgan Spurlock

Starring: Morgan Spurlock

Year: 2003

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


EIFF 2004

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