A review of “Super Size Me” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *** 1/2

Rating: Not Rated, but could be PG-13 for graphic images and innuendo

Run Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

 

 

Everything is bigger in America according to Morgan Spurlock, who has crafted a contemporary horror story by subjecting himself to thirty solid days of a McDonald’s-only diet.  Ugh.

Under the supervision of a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, a nutritionist and a matter-of-fact internist, Spurlock explores the ritual delights of fast food frenzying, an American tradition. He doesn’t have far to venture; as a resident of Manhattan Spurlock has eighty-three McDonald’s locations to binge from. As Spurlock’s health deteriorates and his weight and cholesterol balloon, he spouts frightening facts with the urgency of a dead man walking. 

A staggering sixty percent of Americans are overweight; in certain states almost one of four is considered obese. Couple this with the fact that McDonald’s is attempting to Super-size the planet with their saturated fat-stuffed burgers and fries, and you’ve got yourself the makings of an intriguing experiment.

Spurlock’s vegan chef fiancé is horrified by her lover’s McDiet.  Along with an unhealthy pallor and flagging energy, Morgan’s sex drive is merely a shadow of its former lusty self. His mounting depression leaves little time for anything but periodic check-ups with his on-call docs, who are patently alarmed at the results.

McStomach-aches and McGas are the least of Spurlock’s worries. Spurlock gains a hellishly unhealthy seventeen pounds in twelve days (almost twenty five in thirty days), while his liver metastasizes into a state of shock from the steady diet of sugar and fat. 

The tension mounts as Spurlock endeavors to complete his investigation while racking up alarming symptoms that will seriously endanger his health. Data regarding horrendous school lunch programs, the declining haleness of our country and the fear factor of gluttonous addiction are reminiscent of Michael Moore’s slapdash soap-boxing, but guaranteed to keep you from darkening the door of fast-food institutions for years to come. 

McDonald’s pulls in 46 million suckers a day, most of them yearning for the comfort and ease of a fast-food fix.  McD’s genetically modified fare is an American staple, worshipped to the tune of 1.4 billion of annual advertising dollars.

Shortly after the heavy-handed hype of Super Size Me at this year’s Sundance Film Fest (where it won the Director’s Award), McDonald’s suspended Super-Sizing at all of its fast-food outlets.  Chalk up a small step for the man (Spurlock) and a big leap for mankind.