Did he really say “You cold farted itch”?
I… I don’t… I… What just happened?
I just spent 92 minutes watching the animated “kid’s film” known as Foodfight! by director/producer Lawrence Kasanoff (the guy responsible for all the Mortal Kombat movies) and my mind is completely scrubbed. Normally I try to lure you into reading more by not giving my full opinions until the end of the review but I’m coming right out with it: this movie is god awful. You have to understand that I love watching terrible movies but I think Foodfight! takes the cake. Yes, dear reader, even when compared to some of the most notoriously bad films of recent times such as The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, Troll 2, etc. Foodfight! might just rank up there as worst film of all time. I know that point is debatable but if I want to focus my judgmental laser I think it’s safe to assume this is the worst animated film of all time to ever hit theaters. Speaking of “hitting theaters” it’s impossible for me to talk about this film without talking about it’s history.
From Rags to Dirty Rags
Foodfight! comes to us courtesy of Threshold Entertainment (the guys who own the Mortal Kombat license) and C47 Productions (who I assume is the animation studio, but the only information I could drudge up is that it apparently is ran by Rebecca Wolcott who acts as both President of C47 and “Foodfight! Foundation” whatever the hell that’s supposed to be). Originally the film was set to be a 2003 Christmas film where I assume Kasanoff was “inspired” by the popularity of Toy Story and its 1999 sequel but decided to put the twist that instead of memorable children’s toys he would use corporate icons from supermarket goods. During development the film was criticized as being the incarnation of product placement targeted to children. Obviously none of us heard of the film releasing in 2003 because it was clear the movie was never going to make it out of the gate. Eventually the loan defaulted and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company/International Film Guarantors auctioned off the rights and assets to the film in late 2011. Never one to turn down a cheap film, Lionsgate picked up the film for distribution where it hit UK and Russian theaters for a combined gross of only $73,706 (apparently it also played in Bulgaria, but no figures exist).
At first glance, Foodfight! has quite a bit of star power; at least for a film destined to bring in less than a hundred grand. When you account for the era it was in development, however, you find a batch of mostly washed up talent who were willing to do anything. Most notable is Charlie Sheen who was coming fresh off the recently canceled Spin City, playing the lead character Dex Dogtective. His sidekick, Daredevil Dan, is played by Wayne Brady who was still dealing with his failed, eponymously-named show. Dex’s freakishly creepy love interest, Sunshine Goodness is helmed by Hillary Duff whose Disney show Lizzie McGuire was beginning to circle the drain. Finally the film’s villain, Lady X, was played by Eva Longoria who I suppose was no longer relevant to The Young and the Restless. There are other somewhat big name actors playing bit characters such as Chris Kattan and Christopher Lloyd (be sure to watch the clip below) but I feel like mentioning their names is akin to pointing someone out in a police lineup. I don’t even know why I should bother talking about the acting talent, because it’s clear that it made no difference to the film.
It’s worth mentioning here that the film also features some of the most corny pop songs ever recorded by bands I’m sure don’t exist anymore.
Watch the clip below. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.
You see that? Did you pay attention to where arms and legs were going? This doesn’t even scratch the surface. And yes that was Doc Brown you were hearing.
The animation in this movie is similar to what you might find in PFFR‘s Xavier: Renegade Angel or NEXT Media‘s animated news broadcasts, except that in both of these cases the animation is terrible on purpose. If you go back and rewatch the clip notice that the character’s movements have almost nothing to do with the voices, as if they were animated and recorded without any cooperation with each other. The exaggerated movements make silent films look deadpan by comparison, and while I understand that the intention was for more of a cartoony feel the film just goes overboard in every single gesture. I don’t know is this was batshit insane motion capture or hand animation from someone who doesn’t understand how people move, but it’s just plan tragic. Even the Canadian CGI shows of the late 90’s such as Roughnecks, Beast Wars, and ReBoot had smoother animations than this. It certainly ain’t going to compete with any Pixar film, that’s for sure.
Before you even make it to the 5 minute mark you know you’re going to be in trouble. Hell when the shoddily slapped together opening title card crashes onto the screen you know you’ve made a poor decision.
I don’t even know where to begin, it’s that bad. Sure, The Room had a bad story and so did Birdemic and Troll 2. All those films had contrived plots that made little sense and leaped to astronomically irrational assumptions, they all have poor writing that produces some of the most unintentionally hilarious quotes in film history, but when you really look at the whole picture you can actually watch these movies. I’m not saying you can enjoy yourself, but you can actually watch it and get a picture of what was going on. Foodfight! has as much of a story as a fever dream from eating three whole tubs of Red Vines and a fifth of Everclear can produce. As the minutes began to stretch from time dilation I lost touch with what the movie was about, who the characters were, where I was, who I was… I’ve never watched Yellow Submarine while suffering a bad blotter acid trip, but I imagine this experience is just as hallucinogenic and terrifying.
Whenever I try to think about the plot I suddenly wake up on the ground in a puddle of foamy spit and twenty five minutes of time missing, but here’s the basics: Dex is the city’s hero who wants to marry Sunshine who then vanishes inexplicably which causes Dex to quit crime fighting and start a bar but then Brand X comes in and the town starts goin t o waR so Deks musssssssssssssssssdxcxx
Sorry. It happened again. I can’t even go back to edit it because I value the remaining brain cells I have. Doesn’t matter anyway because the plot really makes no difference, it’s not what you’re going to focus on. You don’t care at all about any of the character’s plight or their role. The only thing you care about is the concept and the words tumbling out of their mouths.
The concept that a city is populated by corporate icons is barely held together by the combination of real icons such as Mr. Clean, Charlie Tuna, or the guy from the Hawaiian Punch label, fictional characters such as Dex Dogtective Cereal and Daredevil Dan chocolate candy, and blatent ripoffs that they couldn’t get the rights to like Choc Dracul (Count Chocula) or Polar Penguin (Chilly Willy). This mix wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact characters who play important roles are almost never explained and so you simply have to guess what product they represent and why their mannerisms are such. The dialog is not fit for human consumption; every attempt to slap a corporate jingle joke is taken no matter how serious the scene is and when not making some asinine pun they’re just rambling until the animation frames stop. Go back and watch that scene, pay attention to the words, see how long it takes for them to lose all meaning. On top of all this the film has an unusually heavy handed attempt to inject sex jokes and Nazi oppression into a kid’s movie. I’m not joking both of those things are in the film in equal portions.
The Wrap Up
Do I reccommend Foodfight! to the average movie-goer? Nope. I can only recommend this to people who want to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes and it goes mighty deep. Even connoisseurs of bad films might find it hard to trudge through this. You see most bad films that become cult classics are cult classics because the bad transcends traditional film critiques to become funny and entertaining. Foodfight! is neither of these things. In fact you might find a particular part of it offensive (for me it was the heavy handed Casablanca parody), but most will just find it a mixture of boring, lack of aim, and humor that couldn’t make a 5th grader chuckle.
Don’t bother buying it or renting it, if you search Youtube you can find it if you’re so inclined, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By the way, the title of this article is a play on the old Alka-Seltzer ad. Get it? Because the movie is all about corporate icons.