retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

It was about a dozen years ago that documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock turned the food industry on its ear, generating a lot of attention and controversy with Super Size Me, in which he existed only on McDonald's food for a month, suffering all sorts of physical and even emotional distress in the process. By turning himself essentially into a fast food victim, Spurlock was looking to show the kind of damage that fast food was doing to people who ate too much of it.

Now, he's back for more, with a sequel that actually take a different approach - rather than being a victim, Spurlock decided to see what would happen if he were part of the problem.

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken starts with Spurlock's fascination with the chicken business, and he decides to learn as much as he can about what basically is the most consumed food on the planet. That means actually becoming a chicken farmer, which allows him to learn about how chickens are bred to grow so fast and big … and then becoming the owner of a fast food chicken restaurant, where he grapples with the notion of transparency - "big chicken" companies, he argues, are in the business of exploiting both their farmers and their chickens, but most consumers have no idea about what they are eating and how it got to them.

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken actually was supposed to be released two years ago, but was pulled from distribution when Spurlock confessed to past sexual misconduct. Oddly enough, with all the attention focused on the chicken sandwich wars these days, the movie is even more relevant today … though it is hard to know whether Spurlock's past behavior will stop a lot of people from streaming it.

I saw it on iTunes, and to be honest, I watched it not remembering the stories about Spurlock's past. There's no way to sugarcoat any of those misdeeds, and they certainly color the way I think about him and the movie. But that said, it is an entertaining piece of work, making a lot of provocative points.

To be honest, Super Size Me had an impact on my consumption behavior - it was around the time of its release that I started dramatically cutting back on fast food. Now, the sequel has me thinking about the chicken I eat.
KC's View: