Super Size Me

Subscribe to Morgan Spurlock alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st May 2004

Production compaines: Kathbur Pictures

Reviews 4.5 / 5

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew



Starring: Morgan Spurlock as Himself, Daryl Isaacs as Himself (as Daryl M. Isaacs MD Internal Medicine), Lisa Ganjhu as Herself (as Lisa Ganjhu D.O. Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist), Stephen Siegel as Himself (as Steven Siegel MD FACC Cardiologist), Bridget Bennett as Herself (as Bridget Bennett R.D.), Eric Rowley as Himself, exercise physiologist, Mark Fenton as Himself, former editor, Walking, Alexandra Jamieson as Herself - Morgan's Girlfriend (as Healthy Chef Alex), John Banzhaf as Himself (as John F. Banzhaf III), David Satcher as Himself (as Dr. David Satcher), Lisa Young as Herself (as Dr. Lisa Young), Kelly Brownell as Himself, Jacob Sullum as Himself, Tommy Thompson as Himself, William J. Klish as Himself

Super Size Me Movie Review

In the documentary Super Size Me, director Morgan Spurlock takes what seems like a fraternity hazing stunt and turns it into an astute statement about the shape of the Union. For thirty days he agrees to eat nothing but what he can buy at McDonald's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He takes us along on his journey from fit to fat to teetering on the brink of liver failure. The results are both harrowing and hilarious.

Spurlock begins by giving us a little background. He shows how we've gone from a relatively unhealthy nation to a morbidly obese one in surprisingly short order. Doctors warn that at the rate we're going, one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes. Even smoking is expected to lose its title as the number one preventable cause of death to obesity-related disease. The stakes are clear. But why pick on poor old McDonald's?

Using recent fast food lawsuits as a jumping off point, Spurlock submits that if McDonald's food presents no health risk, as the company's legal statements attest, he should be able to eat it for a month and remain healthy. Specious reasoning at best, but it's sufficient to get the ball rolling.

Part of what makes this movie work so well is that Spurlock takes the experiment very seriously. He employs two specialists, a general practitioner, and a nutritionist to monitor his progress. He sets down very specific ground rules: Three squares a day. Try everything on the menu at least once. If an employee offers to super size an item, he must say yes. Initially, we share his excitement as he eats his "last supper," a nutritious meal served by his vegan chef girlfriend.

Things quickly turn unpleasant as the consequences become apparent. That Spurlock's health deteriorates is predictable, just how much and how rapidly is less so. Even his doctors are amazed that his liver is susceptible, noting that his diet is turning it into "pâté." Sexual and emotional side effects ensue, much to his girlfriend's dismay. What begins as a lark transforms into a dangerous exploit and the film's tone shifts accordingly.

Spurlock's candor is another crucial element in getting us to care about what he does to himself. His camera is unflinching. When a super-sized dinner makes him vomit, we see it. We bear witness to his rectal exam. When he takes us on a side excursion to investigate gastric bypasses, we see one - from the inside.

The director frequently takes time out from his own narrative to investigate the impact of fast food on children. He takes on school lunches, corporations' targeting of kids, and the ubiquity of branding (more children recognize Ronald McDonald than Jesus). He manages to stop short of declaring, "Will somebody please think of the children?" But his point is taken.

The cumulative impact of these reports is to suggest the importance of food beyond physical health. A school for juvenile delinquents sees less violence than a normal school after it switches to a healthier lunch program. Spurlock himself notes mood swings that correspond to his eating schedule.

Spurlock's easygoing manner and wry sense of humor help us root for him throughout. When a psychologist explains that many adults eat at McDonald's because they associate it with happy childhood memories, Spurlock jokes that when he and his future kids pass a McDonald's, he'll punch them in the face.

By its nature, the film presents largely anecdotal evidence to support its claims. Though not bereft of statistics, it remains vulnerable to scientific debunking, and in fact it has received a crush of attention lately from people who have tried similar experiments without ill effect as well as those who simply think Spurlock is a wuss. Regardless, Spurlock's argument remains compelling if for no other reason than that his targets are so easy: The influence of corporations, the national obsession with image, and the prioritizing of the bottom line over health concerns.

With Super Size Me, Spurlock puts a very human face on questions that concern the nation as a whole. That this face happens to be his own only makes the film more entertaining.

I haven't touched a Big Mac since. Reviewed at the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival.

This harrowing film hits DVD with copious extras, including a commentary from Spurlock, extra interviews and deleted scenes, and an interview with the author of Fast Food Nation. Don't miss the three-minute "science experiment," which answers the question of what happens to McDonald's items after they spend 10 weeks in a mason jar. Disgusting.

Quarter pounded.


Subscribe to Morgan Spurlock alerts


Super Size Me Rating

" Extraordinary "


More Morgan Spurlock

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...


Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...