Sausage Party (2016): A Stoner’s Wet Dream
Seth Rogen and his team of crass comedies have always attempted to push the envelope, whether it be making fun of themselves as they handle the end of the world or while they try to assassinate Kim Jong Un. In 2016, they forced the issue even more when they released Sausage Party, an R-rated animated movie made completely for adults. The following review will be spoiler free.
Sausage Party is directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon and stars a plethora of voice talents such as Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, and many, many more. The film begins with all the food excited to be chosen by the shoppers of the grocery store so that they may pass on to the “great beyond.” A sausage named Frank (Rogen) and a bun named Brenda (Wiig) are excited to be chosen because they belong together and have had relationship grow over the past few days they were on the shelves. However, after a jar of honey mustard goes crazy and commits suicide after returning from the great beyond, Frank begins asking questions and learns a terrible truth about what really occurs once food leaves the store.
I unfortunately missed seeing Sausage Party during its theatrical run last August. The film had a great premise that turned into a hilarious trailer, spoofing such films as Saving Private Ryan and seemingly bringing a ton of raunchy humor to the table. Having food be unaware of their fate after they leave the grocery is a pretty genius idea for a movie if you ask me.
However, my excitement for the film dwindled when news broke of controversy concerning the production of the film. Animators who worked on the film anonymously filed complaints to the public about being mistreated and forced to work long hours without any amount of compensation for working overtime. They claimed that they feared if they stopped working their reputations in Hollywood would be ruined for future projects. The same animators also did not receive the praise they deserved in the credits of the film. In most cases, I attempt to separate the art from any outside controversy, but this issue is definitely noteworthy.
What I Didn’t Like
As for the film itself, while it has its moments, it’s ultimately a letdown.
I must qualify this review by saying that Sausage Party’s brand of humor is most certainly not for everyone. If you find yourself cringing at phallic jokes or race humor regularly, than you will most likely hate Sausage Party. The film earns its R-rating within the first ten minutes of the film as food items of all types drop a number of F-bombs and express sexual innuendos with every piece of dialogue. If you’re easily offended, then look elsewhere for comedic entertainment because you are in for a rude awakening.
As for those still intrigued, Sausage Party attempts (attempts is the key word here) to contain the same brand of raunchy comedy as previous Rogen efforts, but it feels less inventive and clever. The film attaches racist caricatures to each food depending on the nationality (i.e. the Bagel is Jewish). While there is certainly fun to be had here (and on occasion there is), the film goes for low-hanging fruit, doing nothing overly intelligent with this idea. The food simply make fun of each other for being different.
The plot of Sausage Party also leaves a lot to be desired as well. I found this point disappointing since the film had such a great premise, but once the gag of fearful food runs thin, the film offers nothing special in its place. Sausage Party attempts to make its audience feel for Frank and Barry (both sausages), but neither of them are given enough screen time to be allowed fully ingratiate themselves with the audience, becoming largely unmemorable as the movie splits back and forth between the two characters’ arcs.
What I Liked
But that’s not to say that Sausage Party is all bad. There are bits in the film that really hit home and the film has a gloriously biting satirical edge. You will most certainly howl at certain scenes (my favorite scene includes a hilariously perfect reference to an 80’s band during a montage). In fact, the last five minutes of the movie are so absurd, uncomfortable, and obnoxious that the film is worth watching just for that scene. However, these moments end up making you feel somewhat annoyed that the rest of the film couldn’t capture the same magic.
Overall, Sausage Party is a mixed bag. There’s certainly fun to be had, but the film goes too long between gags that land for it to be a must see. Against my better judgement, I’ll give Sausage Party the lowest possible fresh grade of a C+. Although I went long times without laughing, the scenes that made me laugh make up for it slightly. The film should definitely be appreciated in some capacity for taking a risk in being an R-rated animated movie, for whatever that’s worth to you personally.
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