Posted by Joel Copling on March 8, 2014

The story behind the production and release troubles of "Foodfight!" would make a grand one itself. Shot in 2003 and originally meant to be released in late 2004 at the height of co-star Hilary Duff's fame as a household name, the only copy of the hard-drive that contained the film was stolen in an act proclaimed "industrial espionage." A plan was put into motion soon after this to rebuild the film from the ground up in time for a 2006 release, but this deadlined passed, too. Finally, the film was made, with all of the actors attached having re-recorded their dialogue in 2008, but nothing came of it. At long last, the film was auctioned off to Lionsgate for a whopping $2.5 million and released for the same on DVD in the United States and the United Kingdom. (That $5 million, by the way, was on top of $60 million more that was spent to make and then to remake the film after the debacle in the earlier years of the previous decade.) It is just as well that the film ever saw release in any form, because as directed by Lawrence Kasanoff and written by a whopping three scribes--Sean Catherine Derek, Brent V. Friedman, and Rebecca Swanson--"Foodfight!" is the worst professionally produced film (animated or otherwise) that I have ever had the displeasure of seeing.

I do not say this lightly. On the very same day, I also witnessed the infamous but elusive "Zombie! Vs. Mardi Gras," an inexplicable and worthless oddity that had similar production and release horrors and has since all but disappeared from public consumption. Whereas that film was, well, inexplicable and worthless, there was nothing about the affair as downright heinous, hateful, sexist, inept, or just plain atrocious as this steaming puddle of turtle urine. In fact, drinking said steaming puddle of turtle urine might be a more entertaining experience than suffering through this wretched and wasteful experience, all of which resonates in the worst way possible. The plot is more of a premise, as Dex Dogtective (voice of Charlie Sheen) takes on Brand X, a company whose scheme is to rid the world of all name brands until there is only a single one in existence. If you cannot detect the Nazi connections, you might just be running in the opposite direction of a television screen showing "Foodfight!" It is definitely the desired direction in which to run.

Dex Dogtective is also smitten with Duff's character, a ditzy blonde named Sunshine Goodness. Yes, let us stop for a moment to recap: The hero of the film is an anthropomorphic dog detective voiced by Sheen (who was 37 at the time of the initial recording of his character's dialogue), and his love interest is a human woman voiced by Duff (who was 15 in comparison). The bestial and pedophilic connections here are simply staggering and downright off-putting. Anyway, their central mission is to defeat Lady X (voice of Eva Longoria Parker), who, along with Mr. Clipboard (voice of Christopher Lloyd for some reason), plan to rule the world by creating a single, powerful race--ahem, I'm sorry, brand. This means that the inane, climactic battle is between all of the current popular brands, such as Mr. Clean, Mrs. Butterworth, and countless others, and the nameless one created by the villains.

But let us stop here for a moment once again, because I must note something about these villains. In what is merely an element of this film's startling level of innuendo, Lady X is a role as voiced by Parker that is offensively and pointlessly sexualized to disturbing degrees, including one shot that centers what else but her crotch in the scene for absolutely no reason. As for Mr. Clipboard, who admittedly rarely shows up in the proceedings, this is a terrifying character, but he is horrifying for all of the wrong reasons, walking with a lurching gait that is unbefitting of the animated medium and likely to give children nightmares of the sort they do not like. Of all of the wrong decisions made by this film's progenitors, it is the decision to make two central villains as genuinely, awe-inspiringly ill-considered as they two that is the biggest..

But the horrendous decisions don't stop there. Sunshine Goodness, other than having a sickly sweet name that should never be bestowed upon one's film character, is disgustingly anti-feminist in nature, simply there to be ogled and then won as a prize by the film's end. Dex Dogtective is an almost nonexistent presence onscreen despite being the positioned protagonist; this is never a good thing to be when a main character in a story. Then there is the attempted comic relief of the film, a racially stereotypical character named Daredevil Dan, who is unsubtly voiced by an off-the-wall annoying Wayne Brady; rarely before have I so desired the violent death of a major character. Throw in actual, graphically violent deaths of the disquieting kind and animation whose quality is not quite up to par with that of a mid-1990s computer game, and "Foodfight!" is utterly worthless in a way that might just cause real worry for the state of children's brain cells.

Film Information

Featuring the voices of Charlie Sheen (Dex Dogtective), Hilary Duff (Sunshine Goodness), Haylie Duff (Sweet Cakes), Eva Longoria Parker (Lady X), Christopher Lloyd (Mr. Clipboard), Chris Kattan (Polar Penguin), Wayne Brady (Daredevil Dan), Greg Ellis (Hairy Hold), Martin Klebba (General X/Kaptain Krispy), Daniel Franzese (Twinkleton), Adam Hunter (Vlad Chocool), and Harvey Fierstein (Fat Cat Burglar).

Directed by Lawrence Kasanoff and written by Sean Catherine Derek, Brent V. Friedman, and Rebecca Swanson.

Rated PG (rude/suggestive content, innuendo, language).

87 minutes.

Released on DVD on May 7, 2013.