Bad Movie Boozing: Food Fight!

By: Ashley Rivas

A true descent into hell beckons you. It’s not a journey, or a random set of events pushing happenstance into reality. It’s a calling, a seductive siren song meant to tempt you out of your mind and away from your senses. How else would you find yourself in a place so intent to corrupt your soul?

Unless…unless you chose to be there. Unless you found yourself doing something so inanely stupid, so foolish and damning, that you had no alternative but to accept eternal punishment for such an unholy action.

Last night was a perfect blend of the two. I have been lured by Food Fight! for too long, and despite having some degree of cognizance remaining (even after the efforts of the previous two films), I watched the damn movie. Oh, what a price I have paid.


The Backstory

Allegedly, the assets for Food Fight! were stolen from Larry Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment in 2002.1 After some reworking, including the insane amounts of product placement the studio had rather expensively acquired, Threshold restarted the project in 2004. Unfortunately, Kasanoff had a change of heart. He wanted the movie to be more like the live-action movie in his head, which meant motion capture, dramatic shots, and reshoots. Kasanoff understood that his film was important, going so far as to say that “this is Casablanca” for the studio. But when you think all animators can model texture at whim, or question why someone trained in something more fluid can’t suddenly understand the specializations of Maya, you’re probably in the wrong gin joint.

This. This was the best they could come up with before their final investors lost their cool and pulled funding. After some promissory note and insurance jiggering, Fireman Fund, the actual studio insurance company, took over the copyright, shat the rest of the movie out as quickly as they could, minimized all costs, and left the flaming bag on the public stoop.

Threshold hasn’t made another movie. They probably aren’t allowed to. I’d suspect that it’s a war crime if they’re allowed near a computer again.


The Movie

This is the plot of the movie. This is where I’m going to describe it. You’re going to read it, and I’m going to type it. I’m trying, I really am. But for some reason, my fingers keep snapping themselves instead of hitting keys. The blackouts haven’t been this bad for the other two movies, but this is a different beast entirely.

I honestly can’t remember much of what happened in this movie, and it’s not because it’s forgettable. It’s because I couldn’t process it. My brain started to disintegrate about halfway through.

So the movie follows Dex, the dog detective, and his fellow “ikes” in their own strange reality of commercialism. They all represent different brands of products, and apparently exist when no humans are around (although we’ll get into the logistics of that later, because I am not content with that explanation and I deserve justice).

Dex is in love with Sunshine Goodness, a cat humanoid who represents raisins, and despite very blatantly attempting to propose, she runs off and goes missing. He falls into despair and quits his detective work, JUST in time for a new mystery to show up in the form of the jankiest portrayal of Eva Longoria I’ve ever seen.

She’s representing Brand X, a new product pushed by the epileptic CGI version of Evil Christopher Lloyd into the sweet lil’ ma and pop store. Their goal is to take over the store and squish all the other ikes. Simple enough.

You have no idea how much work it took to wrap my head around that plot. Woven between is some mystery about where Sunshine Goodness is, products that have been discontinued, and the sad fate of ikes that are replaced: they die.

They die, so apparently the brand dies. So if sweet Mrs. Butterworth dies in the ike reality, all Mrs. Butterworth syrup will vanish from the face of the earth. Well somehow, the ikes overcome and Sunshine Goodness returns. And everyone is happy when Brand X is apparently just banished from the store. Then it ends.

Then the suffering ends. By now you are either dead or close to death, and the film rolls through insanely long credits mixed with random cutscenes. This is no reprieve. This is when you start to really understand what happened to you, and you seek justice.


The Problems

I can’t stress enough that this is just an hour and 30 minutes of problems. This movie has no redeeming qualities, and was made by a madman who thought he had some vision of greatness that could not be executed by his frustrated team. And it shows, in every painful aspect.

There are too many things I hated about this movie, so I’m going to bullet list this bitch.

  • Animation – It was, as JonTron put it, like someone had “filmed on their Kinect”. The motion capture is delayed, everyone is consistently moving, and the eyes are painfully dead. Frames are consistently clipping, sometimes the layers ignore the characters below them (a ball Sunshine Goodness is kicking moves over the crowd of onlookers, despite clearly not following a rule of physics), and the graphics have no detail. They’re copy pasted models with the most rudimentary of shading. Nothing is finished.
  • Voice acting – Everyone phoned it in, and no one wanted to try. Charlie Sheen sounds like he did this for a paycheck, Hilary Duff sounds like she did this for a paycheck, Eva Longoria sounds like she did this for a paycheck, and Wayne Brady, shockingly, sounds like he did this for a paycheck. Even Christopher Lloyd couldn’t be bothered to try.
  • Plot – It doesn’t exist. It could’ve been the most basic of “new brand tries to shove out the niche products”, but it tries to hamfist a mystery and just convolutes everything.
  • Pacing – It moves at such a breakneck speed initially that you’re struggling to keep up with the introductions, and after the 20 minutes of that is over, you’ve stopped caring.

Now for my biggest issue: the rules of this reality. There aren’t any, clearly. Some reviews I watched said that this follows Toy Story rules, in that the products move and react when humans aren’t around. But that’s not true for two reasons: they DO come alive when humans are around, and they’re not the actual products, they’re the “icons” of these products, or the representatives of that product’s brand. When they do exist, they’re in some different reality, with different buildings and different areas than the store they’re clearly in. So this isn’t Sausage Party or Toy Story. It’s a blending of two realities, that I only really started to piece together at the end, when Dex and the stupid squirrel Wayne Brady venture into the human world. I don’t know how they got there, but they could go back to their world by smashing into a product.

Yeah. The products are the seal between realities, but are also the embodiment of each “ike”, but also are gateways to different areas in the “ike” realm. Kill yourself now. Spare yourself the rest of this.

It got much worse when Eva Longoria revealed that she was actually the Christopher Lloyd human character, which was a robot that could transfer the realms apparently. But stayed at his normal human size. Because. Because you don’t care, and I don’t care, and Threshold Entertainment clearly doesn’t care.


The Other Reviewers

IHE:

It’s hilarious to him that this film “floundered in purgatory” despite a $45 million deal, but the product placement is his more flagrant sin. He didn’t recognize most, since he’s based in the UK, but still knew what they were.

I’m glad he called it a 90 minute fever dream, because I also can’t remember a lot of what happened in it now. It’s come and it’s gone. I’m also delighted that he hit on how stupid the use of classic movie quotes that have been bastardized into food and product references. Or am I angry, because I just remembered that they did that?

This was one of his earlier reviews, so he ended up putting it in a ranking with 2 other films, much like I’m doing now. And it was a tie for the worst spot. Foreshadowing ahead? Yeah. But you already knew that.

JonTron:

I can’t really tell if JonTron loved this, or absolutely hated it. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. He has a huge problem with the pacing of the opening, and also acknowledges that the rules of the world are completely backwards. The motion capture is one of his biggest problems, and he notes that the “sweatshop CGI” is incredibly disturbing.

It’s delightful that he actually did the research of the “Ikes”, since the movie doesn’t actually tell you anything about it and it’s a pretty important concept in the film.

Also, bird boobs. He had mixed feelings, probably moving more towards negative. I mean, they’re bird boobs.

chart-food-fight


My Ranking

This is where my husband and I got into a sizable debate about the reviewing of these films so far. I’ve only done three, after all, so this review was going to be important in the grand scheme of the scale. It’s starting to break the middle ground, and I had to think about what this movie did for me. Or rather, what it took from me. What it stole.

This film, this assemblage of cuts of shit animation into a long-winded fever dream, was miserable. I suffered, and I found nothing redeeming in it. But it did move me, unlike Birdemic. It did make me feel, even if that feeling was rage.

Interestingly, unlike Saving Christmas (which also made me feel rage), I didn’t feel like I was being manipulated with this film. It was a desperate attempt to salvage a poor investment, and it was made cheaply with no heart or soul, but I wasn’t being coerced into buying these products. It relied on their brand recognition, but it wasn’t pushing an agenda.

I hated it, and it was a torturous slog, and for that, it deserves a low ranking. But it certainly doesn’t deserve the lowest, because it wasn’t evil. It wasn’t despicable. It just sucked. And for that, it gets a 2 out of 10 on my scale of badness.

My score: 2/10

IMDB: 1.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Critics: N/A

Rotten Tomatoes Audience: 1.3/5, or 2.6/10

Average goodness: 2.17/10, so average badness: 7.83/10

The budget for this turd was $45,000,000 per IMDB, so our Lack of Effort Points are: [(.783 * 45,000,000)] / 100 = 352,350. That’s the top of our charts, folks. You can’t put that much money into something and have it come out so bad. There’s no excuse, even with the files getting stolen. I’m skeptical that things really got stolen, honestly. I think someone dumped the crap as part of their civic duty.


To The Next One!

For this, I wanted to go an entirely different route, and pick something that I haven’t seen any reviews for. I won’t be able to use them for comparison, but I want to remove a bit of the pre-review bias for at least one film. So, after a wild perusal of the Bottom 100, we’re going to try something rated a little higher than the other movies so far. We’re going with Glitter, mostly because I’m convinced that Mariah Carey is a cyborg. Get ready for some sparkle.


Notes:

1 Jake Rossen, “The Rise and Fall of the computer-animated Food Fight!,” The New York Times, 9 August 2013.^

About The Author

I'm a big ol' nerd, and I want to effuse that nerdiness for the rest of my life. I spend as much time as I can drawing and playing video games, and I've taken that to the career level now since I'm back in school to be a game designer. I'm the mom to three puppies and a fat kitty, and the wife to a fellow nerd.

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