New York Times: ‘Super Size Me 2’ Review: Beware That ‘Healthy Chicken’

Morgan Spurlock and his brood in “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!”CreditCreditSamuel Goldwyn Films

The second Morgan Spurlock cinematic dining outing takes fast food out of the fire and into the deep fryer.

by Glenn Kenny | September 5, 2019

The activist documentarian Morgan Spurlock blended Michael Moore-style showmanship with Gen X bro appeal in his 2004 debut feature “Super Size Me,” a relentless examination of the fast food industry. Its main target was McDonald’s, and its big reveal was that the franchise’s food was even worse for your health than you might have imagined.

He’s back on the food chain gang here, as the title “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken” indicates. The movie opens with a teasing montage: Not a minute has gone by before we hear a TV talking head saying of Spurlock, “Well, you know his face, you know his name, the director-producer-actor and writer of the Academy Award nominee” and so on. The news is that he’s opening his own fast food restaurant

This stunt pays off more purposefully than the movie initially gives us reason to hope for. Spurlock canvasses the country doing market research, investigating whether fast food fare has improved since his first film and making wry observations on branding. Some of this material is interesting, but most of us know that while chicken is seen as nutritious, fried chicken is another animal entirely.

The movie is at its most engaging when examining the near-monopolies controlling chicken farmers in the United States. Its portrait of one, Jonathan Buttram, who was blackballed for helping Spurlock investigate, is both poignant and infuriating. The final bad guy is, once again, predatory capitalism, adding some nasty zing to the you-are-what-you-eat implications of Spurlock’s restaurant project, which, the ending teases, may have an actual future.