‘Unacceptable Levels’? It’s mostly speculation

A scene from "Unacceptable Levels."

An appropriately feel-bad offering for discerning environmental paranoids, the documentary “Unacceptable Levels” addresses the alarming number of unregulated industrial chemicals we ingest regularly through the products we buy, the water we drink and the world we live in.

Concerned husband and father Ed Brown approaches this personal project as a wide-ranging query — into food, toys, pesticides and what it all means. He interviews countless professors, experts and activists who rapidly toss off disturbing theory after grim fact about how corporations have allowed our bodies to become additive/waste depositories.

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Brown’s argument is hampered, however, by the chaotic rush of information and speculation, overuse of winking archival footage of commercials and old industrial films, and Brown’s charmlessness as a “what’s going on?” guide. (He’s no Morgan Spurlock, or even Michael Moore, to name two issue-doc gadflies.)


In fact, thanks to the secretive nature of the companies who unleash these toxins, the movie is not much of an argument to begin with, since there’s very little science yet that can give us answers to Brown’s or anybody’s hand-wringing. All he can do is point to his wife’s two miscarriages and Crohn’s disease, his own cataract and asthma, and get suspicious.


“Unacceptable Levels”

MPAA rating: None


Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica 4.