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VIDEO REVIEW: 'Fast Food Nation' lacks impact of its source

Director Richard Linklater lost the structure but kept the damningpremise of Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation," a fictional exposeof the fast-food industry.

The key indictments are there: how fast-food chains shamelesslymarket their food to demographically susceptible groups; how the fecalmatter at slaughterhouses makes its way into the meat; how animals aremistreated en route to becoming your Happy Meal.

Several storylines overlap here, although not with any finesse.Greg Kinnear plays a vice president for Mickey's, investigatingreports that his chain's meat is contaminated. He is shown a spotlessprocessing plant. Only upon talking to ex-employees does he learn thehorror of the killing floor.

Characters played by Wilmer Valderrama and Catalina Sandino Morenoillegally cross the border to get jobs at the packing plant. A fewmiles away, a high-schooler struggles with her conscience whileworking at a Mickey's.

There's no overt vilifying here, though Schlosser's central thesisthat the chains are bastions of greed and indifference shines through.

Here's the problem with "Fast Food Nation": It's slow, andLinklater tries to jam too much story into too small a space. Theillegal-immigrant story has more dramatic heft and emotional impactthan anything else on the screen.

If you really want a call to arms, buy the book - don't see themovie.

Extras: A making-of feature and four animated shorts thatgraphically show how cattle are slaughtered and processed for thefast-food market.

"Fast Food Nation" is available on DVD from Fox. 114 minutes. Rated R. $27.98.Grade: C

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