20 05 2014

Fed UpFed Up” certainly trumpets its connection to the Al Gore lecture doc “An Inconvenient Truth,” which got plenty of people alarmed about the subject of climate change and (perhaps more importantly for marketing) won an Oscar. Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary, narrated by Katie Couric, does indeed offer many frightening reasons to get concerned about the obesity epidemic that has been plaguing America for the past 30 years.

Yet the impact is dulled by the film’s voracious desire to bite off more than it can chew.  It covers far too many subjects in its 98 minute runtime than it can handle, each feeling slightly less persuasive than the one before it.  The journey to her call to action is so exhausting that, ironically, it made me want to reach for some horribly fattening sweet treat from the freezer..

Soechtig wisely begins by breaking down the science of nutrition and obesity, shedding some helpful light on what is actually making our country fat.  A calorie is not just a calorie, and exercising to burn them off can only put a dent in the problem.  Many issues stem from the overconsumption of sugar, which is often hidden in processed foods by using confusing polysyllabic names as fronts.

The film then wades into the murkier grounds of politics and business, and the wheels begin to fall off.  At times, “Fed Up” resembles Charles Ferguson’s stellar documentary “Inside Job” with its fervent attacks on the dangerous intertwining of the two institutions.  Yet it lacks the zeal to really chide politics and business as usual.
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