Product placement in films is actually okay in my book; Minority Report, Cast Away, E.T., Skyfall, Casino Royale, Back To Future, Fritz Lang’s M, and several other films have product placement that actually are the last thing anyone remembers from those films. Then there’s the “Mac and Me” of product placement that blatantly shove it down the viewer throat or whenever promoting the product is shoved down the viewer throat instead of attempting to conceal it. So can it be called product placement if the whole film takes place in a supermarket with famous product icon…probably not since I doubt the sponsors of the film would want their product to be associated with a film aimed at children that has Nazi undertone.
Foodfight! is about Dex, a dogtective, the law of the land helping the world’s most recognized brands take on the forces of evil and the devilish Brand X. This film script is all sorts level of wrong, yet it’s such a fascinating train wreck it’s hard to look away from. Picture if you will a mixture between “Toy Story”, Mr. Clean, Micheal Bay, McGruff the Crimedog, and Nazism than you got Foodfight!. One of the biggest issues about the film is making sense of its world. For example, in the opening of the film we see a store transform into….lets just call it Producity into a living and functioning city. Immediately the opening raises many questions about how the supermarket world function all of which the film is more than gladly to ignore. Everything else in the film is just broken like the introduction to our protagonist; Dex (a knockoff of McGruff the Crimedog wearing Indiana Jones costume) is on top of a hot air balloon fighting hairless Hamsters and the Rat burglar to save kittens in a basket. What an introduction it is with bad puns, wretched dialogue, and ending the epic confrontation with the famous last words “I just wanted to be loved”. Beyond that point every major plot point introduced becomes an unintentional joke. One that plot point that carries the film is Sunny Goodness (Dex’s girlfriend) going missing. Right after Dex friend says “It’s not like it’s the last time you’ll get to propose to her” it goes to a title card that says “Six Months Later”.
Spiraling into a series of repeated problems that consist of more bad puns, constant character introduction, horrid dialogue, and sexual innuendos. Oh yes the innuendos are very sexualize with no effort to tone it down. Somehow a fetish for food product icon worked it way into the film putting the villainess in a schoolgirl outfit attempting to seduce a dog. Sure in context it’s a two food icon dancing while flirting, but also comes across as bestiality as a human woman trying to seduce a dog. Humor contain some slapsticks, but in general most of the jokes and references are for adult. The dialogue is not clever enough to sneak in crude jokes. For example, “What the fudge” and “Oh Mamacita! Yo, sweetcakes, nice packaging! How about some chocolate frosting? I’d like to butter your muffin!”. Dialogue like this does make the viewer question if the content for children as these elements have straightforward intentions. The dedication to remain friendly provide plenty of awkward dialogue that entertains all for the wrong reasons. Although when it comes to having Nazism is where lines are drawn. Not only is the idea of Nazis undertone in a kids film a potential red flag, but also that it might have a hidden agenda. By that I mean perhaps it’s trying to present it’s own version of Hitler; the villainess wants to dominate the supermarket, slowly gains political power, starts a war, has a grudge against a specific group, and the only person stopping her is Gex who’s a Jew. Okay I’m convince writer/director/producer Lawrence Kasanoff smoked to much pot with Pillsbury Doughboy while watching a documentary on Hitler when he created this film.
For as much criticism the film deservedly gains it is literally a bad movie lover dream to poke fun off. I can comically break this film down without leaving anything out, but doing so would take away from the anti-genius of the story. Animation is very crude and zany. Expressions are always exaggerated with jerky motion. Nothing in movement has any sort of rhythm to it; speed of characters action is always off, objects are weightless, not a single subtle movement in the animation. Textures are ugly especially up close when human faces look deformed more fitting for a horror movie. Aside from having muddle textures it also has a funny color scheme. In the film there’s a weasel that literally looks like a piece of shhhhhhhh….should refrain from completing that word. Other than looking cheap the director resorts to reusing stock scenes. Near the end of the film there’s a war between food Nazi and food products that is done Michael Bay style. The battle contains explosive pancakes, explosive cakes, explosive ketchup, just about whatever the food product use explodes. This war scene goes on for around half hour being both hysterical and repetitive. Voice acting cast is interesting having the talents of Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Eva Longoria, Wayne Brady, and Christopher Lloyd. Charlie Sheen being the star his voice work is one note. Sheen talks casually as if the dialogue in the film are things he says everyday. Hilary Duff is airheaded, Wayne Brady shouts a lot, Eva Longoria attempts to sound sexy, and Christopher Lloyd is over the top. Given the character that Christopher Lloyd voice his over the top performance makes his appearance in the film a highlight.
Foodfight! is an oddity of film history that should be seen. It’s all sorts of wrong, yet entertaining at the same time. A stroke of brilliance and stupidity come together for a script that is nonsensical and an assault on the brain. Unintentionally offensive and unintentionally entertaining Foodfight! highlights all the best things about watching bad movies. If you’re the kind of person who enjoy seeing bad movies for entertainment value or wants a see a piece of lost animation history Foodfight! is that film kind of film.
Odd Production History:
In late 2002 around Christmas computer drives containing all the film’s files of Foodfight! (rumored around 60% of the film was completed) were reportedly stolen in what writer/director/producer Lawrence Kasanoff called an act of “industrial espionage.” With no backup available the film was restarted with a proposed 2005 release date…which was missed. Then in 2007 a distribution deal was struck, but it, too, evaporated. When StoryArk’s investors, frustrated by the missed release dates and the fact that Threshold’s production company had defaulted on a secured promissory note, invoked a clause ultimately giving the insurance company, Fireman’s Fund, the right to step in and complete the film as quickly and cheaply as possible. A trailer of the film before the theft is online and having seen the film I can tell you the pre theft trailer version has better animation, textures, and more food mascots. It remains a mystery if the original copies of the film will ever be found or be lost like Japan’s King Kong. Having seen the film from what I saw in the trailers it didn’t appear any different plot wise, but one thing I can say for certain is this version of Foodfight! is entertaining if for the wrong reasons. While nowhere the “next Pixar” as originally envisioned this film has for better or worse earned a spot in obscure film history for all the wrong reasons.