It started out when you were told to open the hangar doors wide because the airplane was coming in for a landing. Your parents would be making plane noises with their lips as the flying spoon they held with its contents of baby food came close to your gaping mouth. I only experienced the hangar doors for a short time before my mouth turned into a vacuum cleaner. After a couple of years when the airplane was no longer in commission, your food became a teaching tool. A bowl of soup offered the opportunity to spell words with the floating noodles shaped in the alphabet. How many of you would eagerly down a spoonful of soup with the words dog or cat staring at you? The next stage was not always a choice for many; the introduction of fast food. Coming with your food now were little toys and prizes. As an added bonus you did not have to always sit at a table to eat your food. This fast food allowed you to sit in the back seat of the car and eat while your parent was driving you home. Now depending on your age you may have grown up with one or two cooking shows on television that were hosted by Julia Child or Joyce Chen. Others may have seen a variety of food shows, from contests, to specific cuisines, to learning how to hold a dinner party for eight; food took on a new level of entertainment. I myself have tasted a variety of foods from a small country diner all the way to an exclusive world class haute cuisine restaurant. None of this prepared me for the food I saw in this animated adventure comedy. FRANK, voiced by Seth Rogan (Steve Jobs, The Interview), discovers the true meaning behind being chosen by a shopper at the grocery store and it was no where near what he and all his friends thought it would be. This film had a multitude of actors voicing the characters such as Kristen Wiig (The Martian, Welcome to Me) as Brenda, Edward Norton (American History, Fight Club) as Sammy and Salma Hayek (Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Some Kind of Beautiful) as Teresa. I found the beginning of the story interesting, filled with fun and jokes. Personally I understand the use of profanity can provide shock value in an amusing way; I quickly find it lazy humor the more it is used and curse words made up a a good portion of the script. As the story progressed I found less and less to enjoy about this picture. To me the writing was geared for a narrow range of viewers who just want to be shocked by inappropriate behavior. There definitely was a decent message to convey but it was undercooked compared to the rise of raw adult only scenes. As far as I could tell the prominent goal of the script was to surprise and maybe upset the viewer instead of providing a good story. All I can say is this movie provided a new definition to what is considered food porn.
Once upon a time a person was able to bite into a piece of food and savor the taste blooming in their mouth. Planted in an orchard or field where the rays of the sun encouraged it to grow, the fruit or vegetable was picked at the peak of its ripeness. It was nurtured by the loving hands of a farmer who learned their craft from their father who had learned it from their father; a simple process that provided the most natural and best taste. Times have changed as the world now moves at a faster pace. Some food items are grown indoors where its roots are stuck in a test tube device to keep them moist as the only light source shines out of heat lamps hanging low from the ceiling. If plants are grown outside they are bombarded with chemicals to ward off things that could damage them. Not only are grains being genetically manipulated to create a super race of wheat or corn, but even livestock get injected with hormones and antibiotics because a dead or sick animal cuts into profits. I try to think about what is going into my mouth, though there are times where I wished I wasn’t thinking. My thoughts for the most part focus on either squeezing, smelling, reading or looking at the item before I take it from the store shelf or bin. AFTER watching this documentary I felt guilty for not knowing more about where and how the food I was leisurely putting into my shopping cart had reached the store. Executive produced by Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives-TV, The Sentinel) and narrated by Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Phone Booth), this movie focused on a group of migrant workers who picked tomatoes. I am sure this will not come as a surprise; but the story showed the chain of command that dictated the course of the tomato, from the bottom where the migrant workers toiled in the fields to the final destination at the grocery store. I was surprised to find out I was not completely correct on which component in the chain yielded the most power. For a documentary this topic was presented in a straight forward manner with little consideration given to tweaking elements to make this more of a dramatic story. There were times where I felt a scene’s actions was being repeated more than necessary to drive a point home. However, this particular story was both moving and incredulous to watch. Though I would like to consider myself an intelligent consumer, this movie proved me wrong. I was shocked by what I saw. I have to tell you I would have a hard time shopping at the grocery store that was the focus of this film, if there was one near me.
3 1/2 stars