Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Magical Mystery Cures Is Funny And Scary
It takes an amiable host like Quirks And Quarks' Bob McDonald to guide us through all those modern snakeoil claims about reversing the aging process.
The documentary is called Magical Mystery Cures and is made specifically for people like me --an aging Babny Boomer who is fighting old age with everything I've got.
And McDonald has a wonderful batch of bogus products to rail against.
He's specifically after those products not considered drugs or pharmaceuticals but rather "nutraceuticals". Meaning they don't have to prove anything and have never been tested in clinical studies.
They only have to be non-toxic --the labels can make the most outrageous claims and get away with it.
I think in the old days we'd call them "patent medicines".
McDonald has a deceiving low-voltage charm that enables him to go along with some of these practitioners and all the while he's showing just how deceiving they really are.
And anti-aging is a huge growth industry generating sales in excess of $20 billion annually.
He finds the perfect venue at a packed convention in Las Vegas where every sort of device is on sale to gullible consumers.
At one booth he takes a 30-minute ionic foot bath which supposedly detoxifies the body by drawing poisons out through the feet.
And the water does indeed turn into a putrefying sludge very quickly --but it also turns that way without feet placed in the water.
The sludge looks like it's coming from Bob's feet but it's actually rust from a whirling machine placed in there.
A maker of a rejuvenating cream claims the product has active horse cells in it and the action of your skin trains your cells to be younger.
At another booth he is made to stare at a video screen of mathematical patterns called fractals. A psyoanalysist says the mathematical formulas will surely balance his quantum codes.
A young man in a white coat and a pennant looking like that of the medial association says that consuming the water he's peddling can help cure anything from gout to cancer.
In this case McDonald goes right back to the company spokesman who admits the man may have been overly dramatic.
And at the end McDonald says it all goes back to grandma telling you to eat healthily and exercise every day.
And he accosts one woman at the convention who has had one side of her face rejuvenated but it's hard to tell which side. With her beautiful smile and personality she's a winner to begin with.
And McDonald asks why this isn't enough.
Because if it is why is the convention packed with desperate people willing to pay almost any price to look a few years younger?
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR PREMIERES ON CBC-TV'S DOC ZONE THURSD. MARCH 10 AT 9 P.M.
MY RATING: *** 1/2.