I Watched It So You Don't Have To: Foodfight!
I’m never gonna say you shouldn’t watch a movie because I can’t make that call for anyone but myself. However, in some cases it might be best to know what you’re getting yourself into. Case in point: Foodfight! – a computer-animated shitstorm from the mind of Lawrence Kasanoff (who co-founded Lightstorm Entertainment with James Cameron) and is responsible for producing notorious classics such as CHUD II: Bud the Chud, A Gnome Named Gnorm, and Mortal Kombat Annihilation.
“Computer generated hemorrhoids.” Those were the words that came to mind when I started subjecting my eyeballs to Foodfight. Hideous textures, and overly animated, amorphous blobs crowded the screen as I began to wonder “What year is this from anyway?”. Maybe the original Toy Story hasn’t aged very well either since it came out in ’95, but it was the dawning of a new age of technology and we were all trying to figure out the way to the future. The answer is 2012, by the way. That’s the official release date for Foodfight. Initially set to be unleashed theatrically(!) in 2003, it got stuck in development hell for almost a decade until the assets and rights were auctioned off, allowing this LionsGate(!) production to finally see the light of day in a direct-to-video matter. Still, that means computer graphics had eight years to ripen since Toy Story, instead it looks like it receded to something that wouldn’t look out of place in that late 90’s CG animated Donkey Kong TV show.
Foodfight takes place in the after hours of a supermarket called Marketopolis where, just like Toy Story, an endearing cast of racially insensitive characters go about their daily lives. That’s right, join such lovable characters such as Francois Fromage, Broccoli Ball Player, and Cheasel T. Weasel (voiced by Kasanoff) as they make braindead food puns (“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a spam!”) and fart in each other’s faces a lot. The movie refers to these characters as “iches,” which took me an hour to figure out stood for “icons” and is basically a generic term for food-product mascots. Honestly this movie’s biggest crime, aside from looking like a fever dream of a Sims avatar, is the fact it never really bothers explaining the rules of its world. All of these characters are supposed to be mascots but the vast majority of them are made up so it’s not super clear. I’m sure every company who asked to see some test footage probably dropped out after five seconds. The only ones that really played a role, or got mentioned by name were Mister Clean, Charlie the Tuna and *record scratch* the goddamn California Raisins?! (Also yes, this movie has an actual record scratch moment in it. 5 stars.)
Anyway, Foodfight is all about this fella called Dex Dogtective, an anthropomorphic doggo who dresses like both Indiana Jones and Rick Blaine and is voiced by none other than Mr. Tiger Blood himself: Charlie Sheen. You can find Dex on any given day patrolling the aisles, catching “cereal" killers, or going on a picnic date with his girlfriend who is an actual human woman who happens to wear cat ears and feeds him raisins as if he is her pet... I mean, the sex is implied, right? That’s some straight-up, un-ironic Bojack Horseman shit right here. And then there’s Dex’s best friend Dan, a coked up squirrel voiced by Wayne Brady who crashes his plane a lot because he’s too occupied with catcalling actual human women... who are also mascots? I guess? Look, if this movie was made for kids, it’s pretty fucked up when you make the cartoon squirrel say “Dan’s ya man, melts in ya mouth, not in ya hand.” I also have to wonder if the version that got released was a TV edit because at one point Dex says “cold farted itch” instead of “cold hearted bitch,” which is as amazing as it is baffling that you’d put that in a babby cartoon for babbies.
So not only is Foodfight Hollywood-casual racist, sexist and male gaze-y when it’s supposed to be about cinnamon dogs and chocolate frogs, but it also has that Donald Trump-esque approach to propaganda where you accuse others of something that you yourself are guilty of. See, the central conflict of the movie comes into play when this scientist-type guy who’s basically a walking stroke (appropriately voiced by Christopher Lloyd) barges into Marketopolis forcing his “Brand X” line of products onto the store owner. Meanwhile in Dex’s world mascots start turning up missing as we’re introduced to yet another “sexy” human woman, who is the mascot for Brand X despite the whole point of Brand X being that mascots are BS? Sure. Oh and you can tell she’s sexy because there’s a Tex Avery-style “awoooga” soundbyte when she makes her entrance and all the other characters at Club Copa Banana have implied boners. While her brand is clearly depicted as nazis, it’s funny how this movie posits the mascots as “good” by claiming they are “the soul of our products,” and how “Brand X is toxic and filled with addictive substances.” As if just havin’ a goofy lookin’ doge on your processed food means it won’t give you brain cancer.
Maybe it’s because I have a penchant for trash fires, especially when they’re rooted in consumerist ideas, but honestly Foodfight! is not even close to being the worst movie I’ve ever seen. For one, it somehow managed to hold my attention for an hour and thirty minutes. Its existence is just too grotesque and visually unappealing to the point it becomes a novelty, and it is therein that it has merit. If it didn’t look like dogshit the writing would’ve become the main focus, and it would’ve ended up as just another Shark Tale. Remember Shark Tale? Of course not. Why would you wanna? Speaking of the writing, here’s a little exchange I didn’t wanna keep from you between Lola, the off-brand Chiquita Banana lady, and Francois Fromage:
Lola: “Did you really cut the cheese on that Lieutenant X?”
FF: “Mais oui, but that was just a Munster, I was ready to set loose a Limburger.”
Lola: “You got flow... You got style... Bueno hombre~.”