Unrated; Directed by Tom Naughton
In 2004, Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me presented the dangers of eating fast food. The movie was an attack on the role places like McDonald’s play in our American diet. Spurlock gained weight and weakened his health by eating at fast food places for every meal. Now a new documentary is out on DVD that looks at Spurlock’s adventures and comes up with a very different thesis. Fat Head follows comedian Tom Naughton as he tries the same routine as Spurlock, but with a twist: for thirty days he’ll eat every meal at a fast food joint, but will use free will to choose the meal options a bit more wisely.
Tom Naughton cleverly takes on Spurlock’s experiment and makes a funny, entertaining documentary about our food habits. Mixed in with interviews with dietary experts, he throws in easily digestible tidbits of science about how our body handles various foods.
There’s more than the anti-Super Size Me premise of the film. Sure, Spurlock’s Super Size Me gets a closer look, but that’s only one section in the movie. Using goofy cartoons and wry voiceovers, Naughton explores the politics, history, and conventional wisdom of the American diet. He also manages to weave in funny man-on-the-street interviews to show that a lot of Americans are not that stupid about diet.
It’s an interesting documentary. The attack on Morgan Spurlock is soon worn out, and though there are some funny scenes (he can’t get any of the fast food workers to force him to eat French fries), the film moves into more interesting territory when he begins to demonstrate that our “perfect” low-fat, high-carbohydrate way of eating is not the ideal. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may not like what Naughton has to say. If you’re comfortable eating protein from animal sources and have cut the carbs, this could really help reinforce why you want to eat that way. After watching this you may just decide to add the often-demonized saturated fats back into your diet.
The movie jumps through a lot of subjects and doesn’t always flow smoothly from one topic to the next. Yet some of those topics prove fascinating. The experts that discuss the benefits of eating fat or the dangers of low-fat diets add some depth to the film. Luckily, the bonus features include extended interviews with the experts. Dr. J. Eric Oliver’s discussion on obesity and politics is fascinating.
Does Tom Naughton’s experiment with a fast food diet create havoc with his body? Well, let’s just say that his doctor is shocked. This documentary may shock you with some of the information provided. Fat Head is an entertaining film that offers some mind-opening information.