Less than two weeks after the sensational and controversial comedy/faux-documentary “Borat” debuted in theaters across the nation, the documentary/faux-comedy “Fast Food Nation” opened. Sadly, “Fast Food Nation” does not cough up the sardonic humor of “Borat,” nor the gut-wrenching information and denunciation that the book “Fast Food Nation” was based on.
The movie, directed by Richard Linklater, fictionalizes an all-too-real dark and disgusting view of the under-belly of the fast food industry. It follows three individuals’ lives as they wrap around the caricature of corporate McAmercia, the restaurant ‘Mickey’s.’
All three end up in the small Colorado town of Cody, where Mickey’s sole supply of hamburger patties is located, but the routes they take there are as diverse as the characters’ backgrounds.
Mickey’s executive Don Henderson, played convincingly by Greg Kinnear, travels to Cody under orders to inspect the UMP meatpacking plant after issues arise over fecal contamination in the chain’s best-selling burger, “The Big One.” While investigating, Don chats with Mickey’s liaison to the plant, played by a dark and disturbing Bruce Willis, who tells Don that the contamination shouldn’t concern him as the restaurant’s grills are designed to cook out the impurities.
Several illegal immigrants also end up in Cody, hoping to find a better life among America’s worst jobs. They begin working for the plant, but mental and physical problems soon engulf their lives. Two of them, Sylvia and Raul, played spectacularly by Catalina Sandino Moreno and “That ’70s Show” Wilmer Valderrama respectively, build a better life for themselves but struggle to keep it all from falling down.
Amber, played by Ashley Johnson, is the only Cody-native. To help her single mother with the bills, she works long hours at Mickey’s after band practice. As the movie progresses, her ideals force her to take a stand against Mickey’s. Idealistic, ambitious, ethical, compassionate, smart and beautiful, she is the quintessential diamond in the rough-and stereotypical.
That is the core problem with “Fast Food Nation.” Everyone is simply another rehash of clich