Featuring Katie Couric and Bill Clinton. Rated G.
In the past decade, a surfeit of foodie docs excoriated the rise of agricultural monopolies and the demise of small farms and food producers. Ignoring GMO monstrosities, trans-fat aggressions, and agribullying in general, this one focuses on one culprit: sugar, and its myriad multisyllabic substitutes.
White death itself is not inherently at fault here; real trouble comes with the delivery systems contained in the brightly packaged boxes, bottles, jars, and “snack packs” aimed at children and the juvenile-minded. In particular, North America’s soda-pop fixation guarantees that children of the future will be corpulent diabetics with short life spans and huge hospital bills, as seen in the sorrowful personal substories followed in Fed Up.
Produced and narrated by Katie Couric, and directed and cowritten by Stephanie Soechtig (who took on the bottled-water business in her 2009 Tapped ), the film doesn’t offer much news but is relentless in outlining how the processed-food industry has advertised its way into our souls and, more significantly, bodies. Worse, a few conglomerates have managed to buy off whole political parties in the U.S. and abroad, quashing such warnings as the 1977 McGovern Report and a 2003 WHO brief—both hinting at big trouble coming if we don’t get off the sugar tit, pronto-like.
Such interviewees as Bill Clinton and Food Fight’s Michael Pollan laud Michelle Obama for jumping on the childhood-obesity problem after her husband took office, but Fed Up is unsparing in its depiction of what happened when the fast-food banditos rushed in to “help her”. Almost overnight, the First Lady went from demanding that General Mills et al. stop pushing their Frosted Flakes on our offspring to simply asking chubby children to, you know, move around a little more.
Couric inserts herself into the story when it’s not strictly necessary, and can’t resist taking a dig at nincompoop nemesis Sarah Palin, who happily obliges by making a Big Gulp her personal Alamo. Fed Up certainly hits home by reminding us how tough it was to get tobacco makers to admit that their poison wasn’t really recommended by nine out of 10 doctors.