This Looks Terrible! Foodfight! (2012)
As I wrote in my Scalding Hot Take on its sequel, Lord-Miller’s 2014 blockbuster The Lego Movie benefitted tremendously from the element of surprise. Nobody had any idea how good, or clever, or casually revolutionary the film would be, or just how brilliantly it would embody the joyful element of play at the core of the Lego universe.
In a similar, but also completely dissimilar way, the 2012 CGI abomination Foodfight! sure had the element of surprise going for it when I decided to write about it for My World of Flops in 2013. I had never even heard of Foodfight! I had no idea what I was in for. I came to it blind and was overjoyed to discover that it was no mere bad movie.
No, this was the kind of bad movie I live for. This is the kind of movie so unbelievably, surreally and exquisitely terrible that you want to share it with the rest of the world. I was put on earth to suffer through abominations like Foodfight! so that society as a whole might benefit from my Christ-like sacrifice.
I talk a lot on here about the thrill of discovery when it comes to my work, of the life-affirming joy I feel finding something new and wonderfully terrible. That was me and Foodfight! I wrote my piece in 2013 and then the simpatico minds over at The Flop House and We Hate Movies devoted unmissable episodes to unpacking its abundant insanity, transforming it into a bona fide cult film in the process.
Re-watching Foodfight! for this article, the movie obviously did not have the element of novelty and shock it possessed the first time I watched it. I knew damn well what I was in for this time around, a nightmare-like aggregation of soft-core furry pornography, Nazi imagery, insultingly terrible wordplay, black dick jokes and animation so terrible that the movie’s true setting seems to be the deepest recesses of the Uncanny Valley rather than a supermarket after dark.
Despite knowing exactly what I was in for, Foodfight! still managed to insult and surprise me anew. It really is what I have referred to as a “shitty miracle”, a once-in-a-lifetime pop culture event where everything goes so spectacularly, completely and insanely wrong that an abomination’s mere existence becomes a fascinating anomaly, a glitch in the matrix. Everything in the world says Foodfight! shouldn’t exist, particularly the dictates of judgment and good taste, yet here I am, writing about it for a second time.
Foodfight! takes place in a fantastical consumer paradise where, after the lights go out at night at the supermarket, all of the corporate mascots for our favorite consumer products come out and enjoy the kind of fragile civilization that is an easy mark for cartoon Nazi types.
What these mascots, or “Ikes” as they’re known, mainly do is fuck and fight, kill in war or experience the “little death” of orgasm. Our hero is Dex Dogtective (Charlie Sheen), a dashing, Indiana Jones type hopelessly in love with girlfriend Sunshine Goodness (Hilary Duff). This dog-man clearly enjoys a very healthy sex life with this cat-woman, which is actually one of the less disturbing elements of Foodfight!
Then Sunshine Goodness goes missing. Dex responds by trading in Indiana Jones’ leather jacket for Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca tuxedo and a gig as the top detective around for a lush life running a night club where The California Raisins perform nightly with the They Ran Out of Money Before They Could Animate Us Band.
Then one day Lady X (Eva Longoria) comes strutting into Dex’s lonely life, oozing pure, hardcore, pornographic, hide-the-kiddies sex, modeling a series of skin-tight, skimpy outfits and moving in a way that suggests she’s skilled in the only martial art exclusively devoted to making dudes’ dicks hard. She represents Brand X, an ominous addition to the previously peaceful supermarket world that won’t be satisfied until they’ve achieved complete domination.
Daredevil Dan (Wayne Brady), Dex Dogtective’s best friend and sidekick, is consequently an easy mark for Lady X, since he’s pretty much just a walking erection/sentient black dick joke in cartoon squirrel form. He’s also a street harasser, something the movie finds charming. That element of the film has aged possibly the worst. Cat-calling is never appropriate, even if you are a cartoon cat.
According to IMDB, the movie’s raunchy content caused some corporate sponsors to pull out. For example, the “large-breasted woman” who Daredevil Dan catcalls early in the film was supposed to be Little Debbie. Needless to say, having their corporate mascot get sexually harassed by a creepy, over-sexed chocolate squirrel was an offer the Little Debby people found VERY EASY to refuse.
The same Trivia section maintains that the “gay pervert bat” Larry Miller voices was intended to be Count Chocula. I’ve got to call foul on that. YES, the bat that the wonderful Larry Miller voices adorably (the veteran comedian and character actor is once again the very best part of an almost unfathomably terrible movie) is a homosexual bat that makes no secret of his desire to have an interracial, interspecies, same sex relationship with Daredevil Dan. But it would be wrong to kink-shame him for his sexual desires when pretty much everyone here participates in cartoon bestiality, including our heroes Dex Dogtective and Sunshine Goodness.
Thanks to Daredevil Devil, Foodfight!, an animated film for stupid, undiscriminating children, somehow has more black dick jokes than Milo Yianoppoulous’ Dangerous. Even more impressively unimpressive, the black dick jokes are even more glaringly inappropriate here than they are in Milo’s odious manifesto.
It should be noted, however, that not every dick joke is explicitly race-based in nature. Late in the movie, for example, Lady X confesses that she was a hideously unattractive corporate mascot devoted to selling genetically modified prunes but then went to Brazil and had cosmetic surgery to look like a walking wet dream.
Explaining how she was able to do it, Lady X brags, “When you look like this, you can get (humans) to do anything. Size only counts for men.”
Is she saying that women are suckers for the kind of massive penis Daredevil Dan presumably has, being pure chocolate and all, but that men are so undiscriminating that they’ll happily fuck a 12 inch tall corporate mascot if she’s hot enough?
You can deduce the sexual fetishes/kinks of the various animators by their work on the film. A ghoulish Nazi whose face seems to be melting, for example, at one point taunts Peter Lorre-like informant Cheasel T. Weasel by insisting lustily, “I could just kill you. That would be lots of fun. More fun than a spanking” in a way that suggests that he’s spent A LOT of time thinking about spanking weasels, literally, and that all of that time was also spent masturbating feverishly.
Later, this charming gent moans disturbingly and sexually, “I think I just wet myself. It feels rather nice!”
Is this PG-rated children’s cartoon making jokes about piss play, about being sexually aroused by being soaked in one’s own pungent urine? Judging by everything that’s come before it, the answer can only be yes.
Foodfight! Is a cross between consumer porn (just imagine if all the brands came alive, and had souls, and fought the fascist/Communist forces of the, um, generic brand!) and disturbingly specific animated furry porn.
The inappropriate naughtiness extends to the many, many times the characters in this animated children’s movie come very close to swearing. So instead of saying something like “bitch-slapping”, the characters here will “adorably” refer to “chip-slapping”, which is similar but more likely to involve Pringles or Frito-Lay’s snacks than the vicious backhand of an angry pimp.
Similarly, a pirate character who resembles a pair of diseased testicles, but without the charm, downs too much “chip juice” and ends up getting so “chip-faced” that he passes out in a pile of chips.
Then there’s the sublime moment when Dex Dogtective taunts Lady X, “I’m not the one who’s about to be puppy-slapped, you cold farted itch.” It’s funny because he wants to call her a cold-hearted bitch and say that she’s about to get bitch-slapped but he can’t, because he’s an animal character in a children’s cartoon and consequently can’t curse or fuck, but, you know, obviously does a whole lot of both when he’s not helping lead the slaughter in the bloody Foodfight Wars of the early aughts.
Ah, but it’s not all near-profanity, wordplay content to simply reference phenomenon beloved by children like 12 Angry Men, Rules of the Game and Evita (Lady X at one point implores “Don’t Cry for me, Charlie Tuna”, a line so terrible it borders on sublime anti-comedy) and astonishingly inappropriate sexuality.
There’s also, of course, pervasive Nazi imagery. Brand X are essentially Fascists of the supermarket who literally goose-step and talk ominously about wiping out undesirables, including, it should be noted, a character with a giant nose who talks and behaves like a Nazi-era anti-Semitic caricature.
Brand X have nothing short of consumer genocide on their agenda. I imagine there’s probably a draft of the script where Mr. Clean, the California Raisins and the Twinkie Kid are all herded onto trains or sent to live in camps.
For that final blast of “What the fuck”, Foodfight! ends with the revelation that Dex, who I did, in fact, name my firstborn son after, is Jewish. This changes nothing but contributes to the sense that no idea was too weird, bad or crazily inappropriate to be implemented into this waking nightmare of a film.
Six years and two viewings/articles in, I remain astonished and delighted, and mortified that a movie this crazy exists. Foodfight! Is a cynical hymn to capitalism and the glory and wonder of branding so there’s something exquisitely ironic and appropriate about it being available to watch for free any time you’d like on Youtube.
Foodfight! really does need to be seen to be believed but I would happily forgive you if you tapped out after five minutes. It takes a masochist like me to want to experience this more than once, and even I’m still not entirely sure Foodfight! actually exists and is not a hallucination shared by trash movie lovers with an insatiable taste for garbage as tacky as it is oddly transcendent.
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