Foodfight!, an animated film finally released in 2012, is a master class example of the proverbial “bad” movie. The story around FF! is infinitely more interesting than the film itself, but not many bad films transcend that issue.
Originally slated to release in late 2003, FF! was conceptualized in 1999 by producer/director Lawrence Kasanoff as the ultimate product placement film.
The idea was to have various product brands fund the film in return for having their brand mascots featured or highlighted. Clearly this was an attempt to rip off the success of Toy Story, almost beat by beat.
Instead of a child’s room of Toys coming to life, it’s a grocery store. But it’s not the actual food that comes to life, but the mascots, or “Ikes” as they’re called (slang for “icons”).
These product placement characters, which is the entire crux of selling this film and getting financing, are footnotes at best. Those images above are almost the entirety of their screen time. Which I’m not exactly complaining about, but it’s a super weird bait and switch. The icons are featured so prominently on the FF! poster, with the actual main characters relegated to a small area in the bottom left. They make sure that you think this movie is about Charlie Tuna, Chester the Cheetah and Twinkie the Kid.
Instead we got two characters custom made for the film, that have loose associations with food. Charlie Sheen “stars” as Dex Dogtective (yes, really) while Hillary Duff (uh, what?) plays Sunshine Goodness, a… cereal icon I think? Dex plans to propose to Sunshine Goodman, but she disappears. Enter Christopher Lloyd with one of the most batshit insane introductory scenes:
Lloyd plays Mr. Clipboard (yes, that’s his real name) who represents a company named Brand X. Mr. Clipboard is there to take over this mom & pop grocery store and fill it with Brand X products instead of Kellogs or Sunkist.
More “Ikes” disappear before Dex gets his ass in gear to investigate. It’s revealed that Brand X contains toxic and addicting additives. The remaining icons battle the invading Brand X in the giant titular “Foodfight” and the good guys win. The End.
The film itself is nowhere near as interesting as the story of making the film. It’s also why it makes me wonder about illegal money laundering around this film. in 2002/2003 producer Kasanoff claimed that hard drives containing unfinished digital assets of FF! were stolen as an act of ‘corporate espionage.’ They eventually had to start over from scratch.
The problem is that the film is terrible on a fundamental level. It’s so terrible that it’s insulting. In my mind, there’s no way this movie wasn’t a scam. The only way the film became finally made was because FF! was auctioned for $2.5 million. The investors had insured FF! to complete and release the film as inexpensively and quickly as possible. And it SHOWS.
Amy Donges, a Procter & Gamble marketing specialist, says she is impressed with what she’s seen so far.
The ‘Foodfight!’ graphics are absolutely amazing, comparable to Pixar’s. It’s even more real life.
To see just how full of shit Amy Donges was, just peep the trailer below.
OTHER NOTABLE MOMENTS
- Ultimately, I don’t know who this film was even made for. Who’s the target demographic? It seemed geared towards children, but it was also full of terrible sexual innuendo.
- Why would any brand sign off
- The film grabs you for about 10 mins up front. It’s so weird and crazy and silly, but then it’s just… bad.
- Christopher Lloyd’s introductory scene is the most bizarre thing I have seen animated.
Let’s strawberry jam outta here!
Time to banana split out of my club.
I’m not the one who’s gonna be puppy whipped, you cold farted itch.
How ’bout some chocolate frosting? I’d like to butter your muffin.
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a Spam™