Does anyone else find it surprising that a professional sweetie-pie like Katie Couric would be leading the charge against sugar in the American diet? Or that corporate food is killing our country? That's the thrust of "Fed Up," a documentary by Stephanie Soechtig ("Tapped") which, via Couric's narration, points a fat finger at companies paying lip service to the public outcry for healthier food, replacing the fat with sugar, reducing the life span of children and following a recipe that will make 95 percent of Americans obese over the next 20 years. "We're toast as a country," says former FDA commissioner David Kessler. Actually, more toast might help.
Produced by "An Inconvenient Truth's" Laurie David, "FU" -- as the ads too cleverly put it -- disparages the idea promoted by the likes of Michelle Obama that children need more exercise to lose weight and instead points to the American food industry as a saboteur of health. There are 100,000 food items on the nation's store shelves, we're told, and 80 percent have added sugar. Sugar is addictive. All the ellipticals in the world aren't going to help if you're supping at a banquet table catered by McDonald's, General Mills, Tyson, Nestlé, Kraft, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.
"Fed Up" has something of an unconvincing OMG factor -- the idea that the government, through subsidies, etc., is putting private profit ahead of public health is, sadly, not a shock. Most of the food information in "Fed Up" has been presented far more stylishly and intelligently in films like "Food Inc." and "A Place at the Table," from which Soechtig borrows liberally, including her expert witnesses. The one hopeful point being made is that the food industry, in its shameless denials of misinformation, food manipulation or any inkling of guilt, comes off a lot like the tobacco companies. You don't really have to smoke, though. You do have to eat.
PLOT Our diet is killing us.
CAST Katie Couric (narration), David Kessler, Bill Clinton, Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan
BOTTOM LINE Exposé against America's nutritional war on itself is informative, passionate, slightly regurgitated.