Ethan Switch - Saturday, 5 June 2004
Unseen vomit threw a detour in earlier plans to watch notable athletes and community people running in shorts in a winter evening kept warm by a travelling Olympic flame. A parking slot on Friday night in Newtown, helped by a disappearing man waving semaphore. For all the drop in temperature it couldn't have been so cold to have frozen off depth perception. The girl who walked straight into a glass door proved otherwise. Meeting up with Atom, a napkin was burnt in a candle setting to make up for missing something set on fire.
Leading ahead of the main, In Too Deep, a short comedy with a familiar looking chubby man. Magnetic to the point of distraction, the humour in the eyes holds the script nicely with a muted final punch. The fact that it started out looking very much like that of a standard commercial was a little perplexing. No signs of branding quelled that thought quick smart. One lingering bleed over into Supersize Me was the actual length of the final credits for the short.
Director Morgan Spurlock has an uninteresting and nasally kind of voice that automatically sets the viewer straight into American documentary mode. One that prepares for the initial onslaught of facts and figures with nary a mention of sources and if that, well focussed to the point of proving some kind of point. Satire and sarcasm made themselves comfortable along with the wafting aroma of a dense fruity purple from the wine beside the tipping lady.
Starting out, a full forced romp spurred on and inspired by litigation against McDonald's by two fat teenage girls and the diet concerns of many, many Americans. A light-hearted ride played out in the midsection and then, a depressing venture watching a man pushing an unhealthy case of death riding increased chances of heart failure, a blown liver and sky high cholesterol. Calories were explained in passing—a unit of energy that can raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree—yet triglycerides bothered no clear role. Their rise proof enough of the ills of an extreme diet of fast food meals for one month. It was as if the documentary was trying to outgloss the marketing hype and spin of McDonald's itself.
By reel's end there is a clear and definite posture and position taken by Spurlock. As balanced as meals served over the counter, Spurlock is unforgiving in his stance. Acknowledging McDonald's attempts to better their menu choices he finishes an exasperated breath with a triumph of fat and cholesterol by upholding a McGirdle. Unwavering through it all there is but one agenda here, to prove that a prescribed diet of three square meals a day from the fast food behemoth is unhealthy and that the conditioning of school kids by their canteens and sponsored vendors is leading to their eventual fattening doom.
[Dendy's](http://www.dendy.com.au/" title="not that 216 then") number one cinema fared badly in the exhibition of the documentary. Thrown in a battle between sound and display, it was a close split points decision seeing neither party a proud winner. With absolutely no intention of sharing the audio around the entirety of the theatre, those that were fronting the back saddled themselves with serious lean. That or much hushed munching by those with popcorn and a man with Twisties on his knees. If it wasn't audio that was cordoned off for the front half of the seated then it was the crackling snaps of a speaker dying a painful and public death.
Fashioned like a head taken by the effects of too much wine sitting in the cup holders, the projection crippled itself showing the print either too high or too low for the titles to be read with any hint of clarity. Snappy titles missed for the count lost, a screen that didn't extend far enough to either the floor or the ceiling. Cut to blank. Halfway through, a fantastically dramatic way to end. This was not part of the show it seemed with one of the staff claiming to be working on the problem and that it would return in better quality.
Jumping an unknown number of points into the future it did indeed return, and wholly under the five minutes offered. Five minutes they should have taken full abuse of. Sure, now the titles were visible, but then they drooped lower as the film ran and the sound dropped out altogether in scenes. That the editing itself may have been partly to blame—cranking the soundtrack over the voice-over like a band with no faith in the lead singer—wasn't any sort of consolation. A run on a cartoon showing off an elderly chicken destined to become chicken McNuggets was lost in the fray of such sloppy sound editing.
Complaints were aired and done so mainly by those with easy access to the aisle. Dashed off as the sounds of toilet doors slamming into walls it was clear by the doco's end that the management didn't want a scene on their hands. The first upset was quelled with the lights turned out. The next and final was shepherd by end credits cut extremely short leaving nobody left to wallow in the oncoming boots as lights burnt bright with the patrons scattering like roaches into the incensed night.
Would you like fries with that?