Saturday, 13 August 2016

What A Bunch Of Wieners - A Sausage Party Review

Adult animated films are a rarity in the mainstream world. They're a rarity in general. Animation has always belonged to the cuddly characters and saccharine songs that Disney have built their empire on. Granted, animation has a lot more variety to offer thanks to DreamWorks mixing it up, and even Disney has gone to challenge their own image from time to time. But there's always a box that these films will stay around in, not willing to go any further out of fear it will hurt them. Hell, it pretty much seems like people don't want to see them out of it anyways. Unless you have a show, then maybe they'll take a gander.

To me, seeing animated films break into the R-rated territory would be a wonderful sight. Which is why I sat through Sausage Party.

My enthusiasm for the film was not really up to the levels I had hoped. The script was perhaps the most perverse and warped thing involving food since a certain athiest shoved a banana up his ass. It was as offensive and derivative as a raunchy comedy could get. Easy stereotypical jokes, gratuitous swears that were as childish as they could get, and a food orgy that was 10 or so pages long. I felt like Rogen had set the prospect of adult animation far far back to the point that even saying the clean version of a swear word would be vulgar.

After some thought, I figured that perhaps the movie would serve as a catalyst for more to come. I might not like it, but maybe supporting it would lead to greater things down the line. After all, if enough money is thrown at something, Hollywood will milk that sucker 'til it's empty. Besides, a part of me did find it funny. It may be an immature part of me but one should be willing to indulge in their immaturity. Besides, I had to see just how much they would actually allow. So I got my tickets and entered into a late showing of the film, where I could count everyone who was there with only one hand. 

For those of you unaware of what Sausage Party is, basically think about all those commercials where the food comes to life. Don't you find it odd when they're all happy and cheerful even though they're going to be eaten? Well, this film takes the concept to its most logical conclusion by having the food be horrified that humans (whom they revere as gods that take them to a great beyond) are actually using them for consumption. It centers around Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage who wants to get all up in Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a hot dog bun, by being chosen by one of the gods to enter into that great beyond. Frank then finds himself attempting to save a suicidal honey mustard (Danny McBride) who knows the real truth behind the great beyond and then having to go on a quest to prove the harsh reality of the situation, eventually coming across Sammy the Bagel (Edward Norton), Lavash (David Krumholtz), Teresa del Taco (Salma Hayek) and a douche (Nick Kroll)

Coming out of the movie, I have to say that I was neither pleasantly surprised or insanely insulted. Sure, reading the script could be seen as an insult in general but it had numbed me to what was to come. There was a way more offensive and awful way they could have taken the material on the text, and there were thankfully some awful scenes that were taken out like a piece of cheese getting slightly aroused that his dismembered dick was being eaten by rats. There was however some that stayed, like zombie corn coming out of a piece of shit and a douche raping a juice box through a draining oral act. Interestingly, the orgy scene was actually a lot more stupidly hilarious than greatly disturbing. That scene had me worried in the script as being a terrible and idiotic idea. It wasn't any less idiotic than I imagined it but thank god Point Grey knew where to take the scene.

At the same time, the film had very little moments that were incredibly creative. Any obvious joke you had in your head about a character, this movie would put it on screen. From the bagel being a nebbish Jew, to the lavash being a strict Muslim (both of which fight about how much of the aisle they should take up) to the taco being a Mexican lesbian, to the douche being a bro-tastic jerk. Perhaps the most interesting examples of this obviousness were a group of Canadian beers barging in saying "sorry" as they bumped into the main characters was a seedy mustachioed tequila bottle that takes Brenda and her other friends to a trap having the label "Sigueme" (Spanish for "follow me"). It provided a nice counter to the Nazi mustard who wanted to exterminate the juice (haw haw) or Chief Firewater, who was perhaps the most annoying character in the film (which considering that there was a literal douche being a douche is quite the achievement).

The few moments that got me were very surreal, such as when one of Frank's sausage friends ends up at the house of a druggie (named Druggie, because duh) and finds himself able to talk to him after he takes up some bath salts. There, you see a chewed up wad of gum serving as a Steven Hawking type genius and a traumatized roll of toilet paper. A part of me was wondering about how inconsistent the world of the film was as certain non-food products were also alive but others weren't but another part made me remember that I was watching a film that was probably written during a haze of marijuana smoke, so questioning such nonsense was stupid. The food fighting the humans was another fun scene, as it provided some great visual effects and gags as well as the douche controlling a man by sticking himself way up the fellow's ass and using a revolver to try and kill the heroes.

My biggest gripe with the film wasn't so much the crudeness of the humor more than it was the lack of a soul that the movie had. It tried it's best to provide some crazy imagery and talk about some heavy religious and spiritual issues but it seemed tacked on and lifeless. The issue with most adult animated works (and animated works in general) is that it will dawn too much on the perception of animation. It will use family-friendly visuals to deliver not-so-family-friendly material like sex, drugs, violence and swears. While that's something I enjoy, there's more that's required to be something that stands out. Sausage Party revels that its look is very much similar to that of a regular animated film and even makes a few ribs at Disney with a overly-extravagant musical number by Alan Menken and a Dixar logo, but aside from that, you're not left with much else. The characters are not really ones you care about for their journey since it's the jokes that take center stage, but the jokes aren't doing much more than playing on the contrast of colorful G-rated CGI with R-rated raunchiness. 

I went into this movie more for the selfish reason to see animation break the PG-13 ceiling rather than actually supporting the film itself. I surely was cynical about how well it could win me over, but I think to some degree it did do that. It would have been nice to have it more distinctly stylized and accepting that it was in a new territory, trying to do something a lot more bold with what it had to offer, but going the standard raunchy comedy route wasn't that bad of a choice after all. Animation will always be associated with wacky and fun, so if there was any way to ease people into bringing this forward, this is certainly one of the better ways to do so. I can understand those who don't want to see it and if you're one of them, I don't think there's much in my review to convince you otherwise. This is pretty much a dumb movie to stuff your face with popcorn with and take in all the absurdity that comes with it. And it may just make you think about just how much of a genocidal monster you are when your bag is empty. 


  1. It's interesting, because I actually thought this movie's message trivialized religion without looking at the bigger picture. Especially since, for as much as it can be used to harm, religion can be used to heal too. And not acknowledging that in some form is actually pretty shallow-minded...

    1. Well like I said in the review, I think the matters of religion in the film were just tacked on to give some further semblance of complexity to the whole production. I mean the whole premise itself has a religious connotation but the commentary on it really seemed like they were just going with the most superficial elements.