The time-slot offered to meet Spurlock was anything but super size – 10 minutes was all I could get – but it was time well spent. I finally met the guy who had made himself famous as a fast-food-eating guinea pig and has made a buzz of Michael Moorish dimensions in the doc world, and he didn’t even seem all that crazy.
Spurlock’s tongue-in-cheek road movie uses a light, humorous approach to describe the serious issue of a fast-food culture that causes obesity and severe illness.
Spurlock got the idea of making the film from watching a news story about two teenage girls who sued McDonald’s for being responsible for their obesity. He wanted to see just what would happen if you ate nothing but fast food for a month and set out on a gluttony binge across America.
Morgan Spurlock: For me travelling was an important part of it, because fast food is everywhere, all over the country in America and the world, and it was important for me to show that this problem is not just in certain places – it’s everywhere. So it became important to go to some of the “fattest” cities in America and talk to the people there.
The filmmaker puts himself in front of the camera, Michael-Moore style, although Spurlock’s attitude is less aggressive and at times almost naïve. But the filmmaker’s unpretentiousness gives the film its charm. In his own silly, wry manner, and with an acute sense of timing and comic relief, he gets the audience to laugh with him, all the while presenting horrific facts and figures on America’s health problem.
MS: I think that, as much that the film is a documentary, the film is a comedy. And it was very important for me very early on to make it a comedy. Because nobody likes to be told what to do, nobody likes to be preached to, and by making a film that is funny and makes you laugh, suddenly your barriers come down and you become receptive to the information. Like, you know, the Mary Poppins song, ‘A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down…’ [Spurlock actually sings this], so we ‘sweetened’ up a really serious problem.
The playfulness and humorous attitude of the filmmaker towards the heavy issues he addresses are apparent in the many colourful graphic special effects and funny animated sequences, as well as the inserted drawings.
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