Sausage Party

By Don Guillory

Pixar gave us films that made us think about our toys, cars, and aquatic life as sentient beings personifying and humanizing them,but there always seemed to be something missing with these movies. Nitrogen Studios and Seth Rogen change this with Sausage Party. The film gives us a glimpse into the lives of food and grocery items and their understanding of the world and where they fit in.

They are convinced that their salvation and afterlife is achieved when they are purchased by “Gods” and taken out of the store. Once they arrive home with their purchasers, they understand the sad reality of their imminent demise. There is no future for them. They are to be mercilessly murdered by humans. When separated from his fellow hot dogs in an attempt to save another grocery item, Frank (Seth Rogen) begins a quest to reunite with his friends. Upon his journey he is confronted with the reality of their futures with the help of a group of wise elders known as the non-perishables. His journey changes from reunification to one where he must discover the truth about their existence and inform the remaining items in the store in order to stop their impending slaughter at the hands of the “Gods” while trying to avoid a giant douche. Aided by a Brenda (Kristen Wiig), Sammy Bagel, Jr (Ed Norton), and Lavash (David Krumholtz), Franks journey is filled with thrills, spills, and numerous moments that will have audiences holding their sides from laughing.

Sausage Party pushes the limits of humor to where audiences will feel uncomfortable. They will find themselves laughing and covering their eyes to the raunchiness and unashamed perversions on screen. The film is not only a comedy, but existential satire which pokes fun at human existence, cultures, race, sex, and everything that we are afraid to talk about. Its immaturity in much of the film is its true strength in that it allows audiences to drop their guard and hopefully see the similarities between human history and society in order to think more deeply about our own absurdities.

This film is not for everyone nor should it be. It, much like South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, looks to shock audiences and have them talking once they leave the theater. It is an outstanding comedy, which will make you laugh at so many issues that you would otherwise try to avoid. Additionally, it may make you self-conscious about your next trip to the supermarket.



Second Review by Ian M. Woodington
My big mistake here was that my overwhelming want for a great, anti-Pixar, R-rated animated feature was allowed to suppress the voice of reason in the back of my head trying desperately to remind me that I was walking into a film from the minds of Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. Everything they’ve done following Superbad has fit the same pattern: a solid idea left unrealized and unfulfilling due to being completely undercut by misguided and juvenile filmmaking. Please don’t mistake me before I go sounding elitist and as if I’m above this type of humor; I still, almost ten years later, genuinely enjoy Superbad. It’s got a simple and relatable story, quick-witted writing and a few stand-out, career-making performances. I guess my hope with Sausage Party was that with a shorter running time, there would be less opportunity for weak writing and unfortunate comedic decisions to overshadow such an amusing concept as anthropomorphized food learning its place in the world. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the first few minutes, Sausage Party pulls no punches; it’s straight into an incredible musical number from none other than Alan Menken (of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast fame). It’s politically-incorrect, filled with great puns and catchy as hell. As various characters are introduced and their motivations made apparent, there is a decidedly different tone in place than what you may have been lead to believe from the trailers. The film begins to become a surprisingly good religious allegory skewering belief, abstinence and the misinterpretation of holy texts. It was at this point that I thought I might be in for something that was more than the sum of its parts. But unlike Life of Brian, which was the immediate comparison I began to draw (and which at this point I’m convinced I’ll always consider the alpha and omega of satire), this script didn’t come from a group of intellectuals seeking to reveal the fallacy of blind faith. Between the use of bath salts as a major plot device and the main antagonist being a douche (and I don’t mean figuratively, I mean that in the literal, hygiene product sense of the word), subtlety and nuance are nowhere to be found. And look, I know these types of comedies aren’t aimed at those of us who do appreciate those qualities, but if Goldberg and Rogan were looking to get a message across it’s ultimately drowned out in the noise of dialogue that ranges from regrettable to moronic.

Adding to an already frustrating experience is that anytime we’re forced away from the main character’s journey to discover what it means to be our food, which is far too often in a movie this short, this disastrous escapade becomes much like the final third of another recent offering from Rogan, This is the End, where it’s pretty obvious that the writers backed themselves into a corner with no competent or intelligent way of wrapping things up. Subplots are underdeveloped and most supporting characters are little better than one-note stereotypes. As for the ending (no real spoilers to follow), after a montage that is certain to become infamous in the coming weeks, the final scene of self-awareness and fourth-wall breaking is firstly, not earned and secondly, infuriatingly disappointing.

To try and end this on a positive note, there are a few good moments that manage to shine through. Namely, the relationship between Sammy Bagel Jr. (voiced by Edward Norton doing an uncanny Woody Allen impression) and Lavash (voiced by David Krumholtz). Taking the roles of Jewish and Muslim archetypes, they’re given a lot of good exchanges and they ended up being the only characters I found myself rooting for A particularly funny beat comes from them being asked why they can’t share the aisle they’re stored in, despite the fact that it seems plenty big enough for both of them. The plot-driving exposition that comes from the “non-perishable” characters as well feels like it belongs in a better movie and you’ll find yourself wishing they were given more screen time. Despite these couple of things to look forward to, I would highly recommend waiting for a rental on this one, as conservatively there’s only about 30 minutes of good movie here in almost 90.

1 ½ out of 5

Ian M. Woodington