Parents' Guide to

Kung Food

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Chaotic animated food comedy lacks sustenance.

Movie NR 2021 99 minutes
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This cartoon stew is a feast for the eyes and ears, but it overfeeds audiences. Super Bao is a steamed bun who wants to be a hero. His friends are jelly rolls and noodles; his enemies are sushi and calamari. The story hammers home the five basic elements of taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy), as the evil Lord Octopus (Barry Samson) wants to control flavor so he can taste better. Why an ocean creature would want to be more delicious -- and, therefore, more likely to become someone's dinner -- is confusing, but then, so is the entire story. This isn't meant to make sense; it's meant to amuse.

The characters' animation style is designed to appeal to younger children, and all of the artwork is meaty and well done. Based on a TV series that airs in China, Kung Food was initially released in 2018 in China and South Korea, and there's an assumption that viewers already know the source cuisine (including items like fried dough sticks and sesame seed cakes), if not the characters. But the dialogue is a cacophony of jokes that overwhelms the story, a lot of it wordplay that will go over kids' heads. Bottom line? While visually enticing, the story is ultimately a smorgasbord that's difficult to digest.

Movie Details

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