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MOVIE REVIEW: 'Fed Up': Graphics sweeten the bitter food facts

by Bill Stamets Chicago Sun-Times - Updated: June 19, 2014 at 10:10 am 0

Narrated by Katie Couric; directed by Stephanie Soechtig; PG for thematic elements including smoking images and brief mild language; 92 minutes; B

"Fed Up" is an eye-opening documentary that serves up hard-to-swallow news: "By 2010, two out of every three Americans were either overweight or obese" and "more people will die from obesity than starvation." Director Stephanie Soechtig gathers activists, doctors, kids, lobbyists, parents, politicians, reporters and teachers - all with different stakes.

As in "Tapped," her 2009 documentary about the bottled water industry, Soechtig creates a compelling mosaic of interlocking forces.

Although no overarching conspiracy looms, corporate profits once again underlay the crisis. Snappy graphics channel the info flow like a sugar rush.

Scary music cues are overused. Narrator Katie Couric wisely stays offscreen.

Four obese kids supply case studies. No triumphant weight losses ensue. A 212-pound 12-year-old is sadly clueless: "My doctor has said I'm a statistic. I don't really know what it means. I think it has something to do with my weight."

Experts debunk the "eat less, exercise more" dogma. Onscreen for seconds, one chart shows obesity increasing at the same rate as health club memberships. Soechtig never doubts the talking heads who claim obesity is a "disease," there is "food addiction," and sugar is a "toxin." Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times

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