I have a love-hate relationship with our beloved fast food industry. Whenever I scarf down a large size "value meal" and promptly sink into my grease-induced depression, I climb upon my rickety soap box and bemoan the death of the American waistline. I vow never to set foot inside or pilot my automobile through any of those poison-peddling merchants ever again. Then, days later, I'm setting foot inside or piloting my automobile through some greedy meat-dealing conglomerate's sorry excuse for a restaurant. My resolve, I'm afraid, is weaker than a dollar store diaper. Weep for me, children. Weep hard.
Which is why such thought provoking fare as Seth Landau's 2005 comedic gem Take Out is so important in this day and age. If your average burger-munching moron isn't willing to educate himself about the chemicals and by-products he shovels into his gaping maw on a daily basis, I guess it's up to the film industry to set him on the right path. Whether or not they listen, of course, is another matter altogether. Like the ancient Chinese proverb says: "You can lead an idiot to water, but sometimes you have to dunk his head into the pond to make him understand what it's used for."
Or something to that effect.
Future indie hero Seth Landau stars as Zack Turk, a disgruntled food critic forced to endure the middle American purgatory known as the "family-style restaurant." Accompanied by his mouthy girlfriend Connie, the two venture into various eateries to partake in the wholesome tradition of dining out. As our hero confronts a nauseating list of putrid cuisine, he slowly begins to realize that these cancerous chains are contributing to the slow decay of our way of life.
His Texas-style editor, fearing a rebellion from his greedy advertisers, won't let poor Zack print the deep fried truth. His solution: sneak his unedited story into the paper anyway, resulting in a full-on revolt against the greasy proprietors of these soul-sucking establishments. This, of course, drops our hero into the center of a media firestorm, which could result in severe bodily harm. Can Zack spearhead his heath-oriented campaign without finding himself rotting away in an early grave?
Pitch black comedies, executed with just enough heart to override the snarky venom, are always a blast to watch. And being a self-proclaimed pop culture junkie, I'm always up for a film that takes a slightly skewed approach to lampooning our country's many unnatural obsessions. Director/writer/producer/star Seth Landau manages to inject some much needed levity into his often heavy-handed approach to manhandling the countless chain restaurants that are popping up like throbbing cold sores across our once glorious nation. He's essentially a goal-oriented Kevin Smith without the onslaught of dick and fart jokes. Whether or not Landau appreciates the comparison remains to be seen. Trust me: it's a good thing, Seth. A very good thing.