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Super Size Me

A film of epic proportions. 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Super Size Me

During Morgan Spurlock's tale of the rise of obesity in America, it is easy to draw comparisons between him and Michael Moore. Both target American superpowers, and both do so by creating a film truly terrifying in its uncovering of the truth. What separates the two, however, is Spurlock's easy charm and actual desire to entertain rather than just shock. Yes, you may never look at a Big Mac in the same way again, and yes, your childhood fascination with Ronald McDonald will feel rather more disturbing than it should, but most of all, Super Size Me will make you laugh as much as it opens your eyes about what goes on behind those golden arches.

Revolving around Spurlock's own quest to eat only McDonald's three times a day, every day, for a month, the film offers up the opinions of dieticians, physicians, corporate spokespeople and the oblivious consumers themselves. While the consequences of Spurlock's McDiet provide the most (sometimes uncomfortable) laughs, the revelations about how far McDonald's has integrated itself into American culture also affords us a few unbelieving chuckles. Most notably, young children mistaking a picture of Jesus for George W. Bush, then recognising Ronald McDonald without any difficulty. But Super Size Me is not merely poking fun at America's status as the world's fattest nation, it is a spellbindingly interesting investigation into the power fast food has over consumers, and the sinister implications of that power.

Such potentially heavy handed subject material is held together superbly by Spurlock, effortlessly endearing himself to the audience and investing a huge dose of reality by using himself as a guinea pig to support his claims. He continues on despite desperate warnings from his doctors that his liver is "turning into pate". Such commitment is not needed to watch the film, however, as its hilarious style makes sure that the nausea inducing details go down easier than any McFlurry. Aside from being an endlessly entertaining breath of fresh air amongst the recent spate of depressing documentaries, if you're looking for an excuse to avoid eating at McDonald's ever again, look no further.

Peter Lefort

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)