Fast Food Nation Review
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In this fictionalized big-screen version of Eric Schlosserís book, marketing guy Don Anderson (Greg Kinnear) discovers that his new job for fast food giant Mickeyís might not be as great as heíd hoped. Though he and his team helped launch The Big One, the giant burger thatís helped Mickeyís business soar, he learns that the meat used in the burger might have some pretty unappetizing stuff in it. His boss sends him out to Colorado, to check out the meatpacking company that supplies the meat for The Big Oneóand what he learns isnít good.

Meanwhile, a group of illegal Mexican immigrants find their way to Colorado, where they can make a good living working for the meatpacking company. But even if they manage to get a job (it helps if you sleep with the supervisor), the working conditions arenít the best, and the work is stressful and even dangerous.

  
 
For local high school kids like Amber (Ashley Johnson), though, working for Mickeyís is just another part-time job. But itís just not the same for Amber after she finds out whatís involved in making the burgers.

Fast Food Nation is definitely an eye-opening reminder, but itís not necessarily surprising. We all know people who have stopped eating meat because it requires the killing of animalsóand that killing is, unfortunately, never pretty. And although we meat eaters donít always think about the process, we know itís there. Fast Food Nation is supposed to shock and appall and disgust its viewersóto get them to fight for change, if not to swear off fast food altogether. But Iím afraid it just didnít work on meóbecause I realize that, unless you grow all your own food, you never really know what chemicals and other unpleasant extras youíre consuming. Thatís not to say that current processes couldnít still use some change. Iím just saying that itís nothing particularly new. Maybe it was shocking a century ago, when Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle, but weíve all heard the stories by now.

As for the movie itself, itís just a little too After-School Special for me. While the subject matter is, admittedly, interesting, the story really isnít. Itís predictable, and itís chatty. Sometimes itís preachy, and sometimes itís just silly. The acting is pretty shaky in general (though I loved Bruce Willis as the Mickeyís-employed tough guy whoís supposed to keep an eye on the meat-packing company), and I just didnít care about the characters. After about the first hour of the nearly two-hour movie, I lost interest.

Since I attended a mid-day screening of Fast Food Nation, I was pretty hungry by the time it was over. So I got one of my fellow film critics to join me for a special post-screening lunch at McDonaldísójust because it seemed like the thing to do.

I did, however, opt for the chicken.

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