Say what you will about Morgan Spurlock’s fast and loose approach to the conventions of documentary filmmaking, but it’s that cartoonishly self-satisfied everyman persona that ultimately redeems his soft social experiments. With Super Size Me and his similarly themed FX series 30 Days, Spurlock offers infotainment without all of the usual lefty hectoring, vitriol, and finger-pointing. It’s hard to hate a guy who cops to his privileged state before subjecting himself to a series of scenarios devoid of creature comforts. It should come as no surprise that Spurlock got his start behind the camera of an MTV prank show—his documentary projects combine the perverse spirit of Jackass with an earnest, soulful backbone. Sure, Spurlock’s me-first attitude with Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? proved so toxic that Al Qaeda wanted to kick his ass out of Afghanistan, but narcissists make the best party guests—something that portends an entertaining evening behind a podium.
SPURLOCK SPEAKS TUESDAY AT 7 P.M. AT THE CORCORAN GALLERY OF ART, 500 17th St. NW. $20–$25. (202) 639-1770.