The world of animated movies with an insane assortment of A-list celebs and the world of impressively bad animated movies collide for one of the most painful viewing experiences I’ve had to date in Foodfight! The 2012 box office flop features the voices of Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Wayne Brady, Jerry Stiller and more, and it’s clear just how much of the $65 million budget aided in those casting decisions.
Set in a supermarket/city aptly named Marketopolis, Foodfight! introduces us to Dex Dogtective (Charlie Sheen), a mascot for a cereal brand. Marketopolis turns into a city at night after the supermarket in the real world has closed, and all of the brand mascots, called “Ikes,” short for “icons,” live there as citizens. Dex is preparing to propose to his girlfriend Sunshine Goddess (Hilary Duff), a mascot for a raisin brand who appears to be mostly human woman and partly cat. When Sunshine goes missing, Dex spends six months searching for her until he eventually gives up, fully retiring from his detective work.
We alternate between Marketopolis and the “real world” supermarket, where the movie’s villain, Mr. Clipboard (Christopher Lloyd), is introducing a new generic brand called Brand X. Brand X’s Ike, Lady X (Eva Longoria), is weirdly always very seductive, and for whatever reason is the only character who ever changes their outfit. Lady X tries to bring Dex to the dark side that is Brand X, but is ultimately unsuccessful. Dex brings together the other Ikes to fight the Brand X army, in, you guessed it, the titular food fight. (There is another food fight earlier in the movie’s overly-long run-time of an hour and thirty-one minutes, but this is not the titular food fight.)
The plot was, for me, the least interesting part of this movie, to the point that I had to ask questions multiple times on how something happened. I was so distracted by the horrifying animation and dialogue (specifically from Wayne Brady as Daredevil Dan, a chocolate squirrel who makes enough innuendos that the PG rating should probably be looked into) that the plot felt virtually impossible to follow. Mr. Clipboard looks like Dracula finally started aging, Daredevil Dan barely looks like a squirrel, and one animal I can hardly identify has a neck that extends like he wants to reach through my screen.
With $65 million to spend, the question of how this movie ended up so bad seems prevalent, especially given the heyday animated movies with stellar voice actors had only a few years prior (see: The Bee Movie, Flushed Away, Over the Hedge, Shark Tales, Open Season, etc.) Perhaps director and writer Lawrence Kasanoff was too late to the trend–most of these animated classics came out in 2006 or 2007, and FoodFight! released in 2012. Yet the animation is worse, the story is worse, and even the casting is less impressive. Kasanoff’s only other writing credit is for the 1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, though he produced others in the franchise, which has a 3.6/10 on IMDb. Still leagues better than Kasanoff’s second child; Foodfight! takes the cake with a 1.3/10. Like I said–impressively bad.
But in truth Foodfight! lore goes much deeper than bad timing–the movie was in production for over a decade. Kasanoff originally set the release date for 2003, the first animated feature from his own company, Threshold Entertainment. Foodfight! garnered many real brand icons to join–Mr. Clean and Mrs. Buttersworth, for example–and was marketed everywhere.
All was well until 2003, when the hard drives containing the film and all its animations were stolen and the animators had to start over from the beginning. By 2007 the film went up for auction and sold for a measly $2.5 million. By 2012 the world received the horrific movie that is Foodfight! As much as I feel for the animators after everything was stolen from them, I also realistically cannot forgive any person who allowed this monstrosity to be released to the public. Although, it certainly makes for a fun group watch.
The saving grace of Foodfight! is its soundtrack, but my particular favorite is “It’s Our World,” which opens the movie. The songs are tragically catchy, and the only things aside from the traumatizing animation I could remember clearly 24 hours after viewing. Food puns and jokes are plentiful in the script (“I’m gonna pop your corn, lady,” “Holy chips”), but I am honestly still unsure if they only made me laugh because I was so perplexed (in awe? a state of shock?) the entire run-time.
Watch this if you want to contemplate how something so bad could ever be released. Watch this if you’re an artist and want to feel better about yourself. Watch this if you want to hear a soundtrack that I am listening to unironically while writing this review. The animation will scar you and you’ll have to read a few plot summaries after to actually know what the plot was, but, well. It’s definitely a movie.
And in the wise words of Dex Dogtective, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a Spam.”
You can watch Foodfight! for free on YouTube