It’s Toy Story gone very, very wrong. This CG animated film delivers what most animators only wish they could do: make their creations talk and do unspeakable things and act in ways that would make the audience cringe, laugh, and blush. And it’s the brainchild of those crazy guys Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill!
Imagine it’s morning inside a Shopwell’s supermarket and all the produce, food, and every item there is ALIVE! Okay, well, at least anthropomorphic and living to each other, but not to us mere humans, who they consider us their ‘gods’. Of all the thousands of items, we center on a package of hot dogs (sausages) and a package of hot dog buns. Seth Rogan voices Frank, a foul-mouthed and overtly sexually excited hot dog who has the hots for Brenda the bun (Kristen Wiig) next to him. They, along with everyone else, dream of leaving the market with a god (human) and going to ‘the great beyond’ (outside the store), where untold happiness apparently waits for them.
But after being chosen by a shopper, Frank and Brenda learn some unpleasant news. A freaked-out returned jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) reveals to them that the ‘great beyond’ is a fraud, that they’re all gonna die, and that liquor bottle Firewater (Bill Hader) knows the truth! Panicking, Brenda and Frank escape the shopping cart, while the other foods go home with the shopper to be eaten! Horrors!
As Frank and Brenda search for the truth in the store after hours, Frank’s deformed sausage pal, Barry (Michael Cera) escapes a murderous ‘god’ at her home and goes out on his own to find out what is happening in the real world. He finds a drug addict (James Franco) that, after he shoots-up some bath salts, finds that he can actually communicate with Barry as well as all other food in his apartment. Not only food, but the toilet paper as well. . .and that’s just unsettling.
Meanwhile, Frank has learned from Firewater that all he’s ever known is lie: the gods are just humans and he’s just produce to be eaten. Worse yet, trying to tell the truth to Brenda and their new traveling pals, Sammy Bagel, jr (Edward Norton doing a nebbish Woody Allen), Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholz), and lesbian taco, Teresa delTaco (Selma Hayek) isn’t going well.
Couple all this with a rampaging, homicidal, lunatic douche (Nick Kroll) who’s out for revenge against Frank and Brenda, and things in the market get crazy. But nowhere near as crazy as the third act, when Barry and friends returns with an insane plan to kill all the gods and then take over the market using bath salts and toothpicks. Oh, and then there’s the orgy later on and. . . oh? I didn’t mention the full-on food orgy? Yeah, it’s as raunchy and visually hard-core hilarious as you might expect.
With a sophomoric but truly funny screenplay by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir, no race or culture is left unscathed or skewered. The food puns come fast ‘n’ furious, naturally, along with more F-bombs than I could count. Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon (Shrek, Madagascar, Bee Movie) the action is quick and laced with SO many visual jokes, that you really have to be on your game to catch them all. Let’s face it, everyone has wondered what it would be like if CG characters spouted profanity and engaged in sexual conquest, but never on a scale like this! Trey Parker and Matt Stone came close with their hysterical all-marionette raunchy and F-bomb hit, Team America: World Police.
The story is clever and has deeply religious overtones to it of belief, especially when Frank tries to get Brenda all the foods to believe him and not what they’ve believed all their lives; you can’t help but draw parallels. But the real humor is in the criminally insane amount of ‘how far are they gonna push this?” comedy in the writing. Just when think you’ve seen it all with a talking used condom, they up the ante with something else that makes you gag and laugh at the same time. Okay, so some of the jokes don’t quite work and some just lay there, but I applaud their effort for sheer tenacity and chutzpah.
In the annuals of bad made-for-DVD’s, this ranks right up there with being possibly the worst of the worst. Made for $65 million, the production values are horrifically bad, the writing is just plain awful, the story is stupid, and the main characters are, in many cases, disturbing looking and racist. The marketers even tried to get the rights to certain brand names but, unable to do that, came up with blatant rip-off’s that are both laughable and cringe-worthy!
It’s after hours in a Marketropolis supermarket when it transforms into a city in which all the citizens (well-know brand names of cereal, candy, etc.) are personified and we meet Dex Dogtective (voiced by Charlie Sheen) saving kittens before he tells his odd-looking squirrel friend, Daredevil Dan (Wayne Brady), that he is about to ask his girlfriend, Sunshine Goodness (Hillary Duff–as a cat/human hybrid. Very creepy) to marry him. However, problems arise and Sunshine disappears.
Meanwhile, really disturbing looking and wigged-out Mr. Clipboard (Christopher Lloyd), the Brand X rep. tries to persuade the Marketropolis manager (Ed Asner) to stock HIS products! Horror! Over at the Copabanana (Dex’s club) Dex talks to the Brand X leader, Lady X (Eva Longoria), but a fight breaks out, forcing Dex to order everybody out of his club. But Lady X drops in on Dex later where she attempts to seduce him while using him as an alibi when a bunch of foodies are found dead. Dex doesn’t want to investigate until he finds out that Dan is missing. As new Brand X products quickly start to replace known brand icons (Mrs. Butterworth, Charlie, the Starkist Tuna, etc), Dex suspects Lady X who tries to bring him over to her side.
He refuses and, not only finds Dan, but the secret ingredient in Brand X is addictive and toxic to humans! A huge battle ensues with all the food brands fighting the forces of Brand X evil troops, led by General X (Tim Curry). But once defeated, human-sized Mr. Clipboard enters their world and (surprise!!) he’s a robot run by Lady X bend on world conquest. Sunshine finally gets a chance to kick her butt in a fight where Lady X reverts to her true self–an ugly old prune-looking thingy.
With a host of name voice-over actors and a huge budget, the real question was: what the hell happened to all the money? Where’d it go?! Screenwriters Sean Catherine Derek, Lawrence Kasanoff, Brent Friedman, and Rebecca Swanson (who were obviously heavily medicated) wrote this utter piece of crap, only to be usurped by the flagrant disregard for any direction by Kasanoff. The money didn’t go to them, so what about the graphics? Computer company Threshold and Korea’s Natural Image did that, setting back CGI 25 years in the process with some of THE worst looking graphics imaginable.
THEN there was rumors of “industrial espionage”, pandering to children with product placement, dialogue that had overt sexual double-entendres, and glowingly bad critical reviews. All of them very true. This is one extremely horrible straight-to-DVD movie that has to seen to be appreciated for all its badness. For extra fun, go to YouTube and watch the Nostalgia Critic’s hilarious review of this movie.