Review

'Bugs' documentary explores insect-eating as a cure for world hunger

If a diet that includes maggots, locusts, termites and buffalo worms doesn’t entirely repel you, then the documentary “Bugs” might prove an intriguing look at the potential future of protein-rich nutrition sources for an expanding world. However, when it comes to food porn, “Babette’s Feast” it ain’t.

Director Andreas Johnsen jauntily follows Josh Evans and Ben Reade (and later Roberto Flore), chefs and researchers from the Nordic Food Lab, a nonprofit institute based in Copenhagen that “investigates food diversity and deliciousness,” as they hop the globe investigating insect consumption.

For much of the film, the brash Reade and brainier Evans mingle with locals from Kenya, Mexico, Japan and elsewhere, unearthing a motley mix of tiny winged creatures and creepy-crawlies that are then pan-fried or otherwise prepared for eating. Like two ecologically minded Guy Fieris, Reade and Evans savor, then describe these insects’ flavors, though apparently none tastes like chicken.

The movie contains random musings — and a few organized speeches — about food systems, global economies, corporate influence and more, but minimizes such vital details as the safety of eating bugs, how insects stack up protein-wise to more common sources, and more specific recipes and cooking methods. Input from a broader range of chefs and food experts, as well as sociologists and scientists, could have better fleshed out this brief study.

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‘Bugs’

Not rated.

Running time: 1 hour, 13 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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