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This is a movie that I wasn’t sure how to feel about for the longest time, but I think I can now definitively say what I think about Sausage Party…
… it’s alright!
This review may come across as a big letdown to pretty much everybody because my thoughts on this movie are surprisingly not very strong one way or the other. Alright, that’s not entirely true; I did end up coming out of it much more positive than I expected to be. I’m generally pretty neutral towards Seth Rogen movies and, though he’s not the one directing the movie, you can tell he’s the strongest force behind this. Though as always, a little bit of plot.
In this movie, food turns out to be sentient beings who want to be taken away to “The Great Beyond” by these giant gods, so they can live happier, better lives than what they have right now. However, one nasty incident slips the idea that this Great Beyond may not be so great. It’s up to the heroic sausage, Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen), to go on a long journey to convince his girlfriend, a pair of hot dog buns named Brends (voiced by Kristen Wiig), as well as all the other food in the supermarket that the Great Beyond is, in the most eloquent way I can think of describing, bullshit. In the meantime, the gang of food is also being persecuted by a vengeful douche named… Douche (voiced by Nick Kroll), who is out for blood, or juice… whatever, he’s evil.
One thing I can say right away that I did like a lot about the movie was the voice acting. There’s some really good work from the voice actors all across the board. Sure, you’ve got Rogen and Wiig and they are being pretty unmistakably themselves, though Rogen plays his straight man, which is something that I’ve seen him do more and more often in many of the movies he’s been in lately. Wiig we saw earlier this year in the ill-conceived Ghostbusters reboot, and I find it surprising that of all the animated characters she’s played, this is the least spastic one. Not that I’m saying this as a bad thing, mind you, I do like Kirsten Wiig, and she has pretty good timing in her delivery. Though they’re outclassed by others, such Salma Hayek (who plays Teresa Taco, and this is her first animated movie role), Nick Kroll (Douche, again), Michael Cera (who plays Frank’s friend, Barry, and this his first animated movie role), and Edward Norton (who is unrecognizable voicing Sammy Bagel Jr.), and the amazing Bill Hader (who does three different voice roles, and they all sound different from each other). There’s some pretty outstanding voice acting here, which is very notable considering that a lot of these actors are doing their first animated voice role in this movie, and that really goes a long way as their commitment and talent really sell a lot of the very childish, immature jokes that would probably only be groan-inducing if handled by a lesser cast.
The animation also pretty good, especially for a very low budget animated movie. It’s not flawless all the way through, there are parts of which, especially when it gets closer to the end of the movie, where you can tell they missed a rendering pass and things look… not quite right. But for the most part it is highly energetic, but never obnoxious. I compare it to the animation of Hotel Transylvania, though it’s clearly a couple of notches below that level of energy and movement, the animation really shows that the animators pushed the characters to the extreme on what they could do. It also helps that the movie’s directors are already fairly well-versed in the world of animation. There’s always something going on on-screen, from characters doing things in the background to little gags like stickers or food labels that are there just for a quick laugh.
Speaking of the comedy, despite being a pretty absurd premise, the humor here is not so much surreal or absurdist, as much as it is a good chunk of racial stereotypes and nationalities jokes, sex jokes, drugs (natch), and a good healthy dose of puns. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s mostly incredibly immature and vulgar, which I’m sure surprises no-one, though the movie is firing countless jokes a minute, and the voice acting really helps sells a lot of these. I don’t want to give away any of the jokes here, but one that turned out to be a really good laugh-out-loud joke was Mr. Gritts’ (voiced by Craig Robinson) rant about how his aisle (and Friewater’s) was taken over by a whole lot of crackers. It’s merciless and incredibly funny. Yeah, if I haven’t made it loud and clear yet, LOTS of racial stereotypes, though they’re pretty much no less worse than you’d see on something like South Park. So if you think you might offended by any one of them, well the movie has its targets set on pretty much everybody, so expect to walk out with a little bit of blood.
Speaking of blood, the movie is surprisingly gory. I’m not even talking about the food deaths (which there’s plenty of, and they’re all funny and creative in dark ways), but the movie also has a surprising share of human death. I’m not saying it turns into a bloodbath or anything, but there are things such as decapitation, freezing to death, and one guy even explodes to pieces. There’s a really great death in the movie that I won’t give away, but the way it happens is absolutely hilarious. Trust me, you’ll see which one I’m talking about if you see it. Also, dare I ask, how sad is it that a movie about talking food has more blood in it than Suicide Squad? As if Suicide Squad wasn’t already a tragic mess, but it’s being outdone by this movie. Let that sink in for a moment.
Though it’s not all smiles and laughs, because I do have my fair share of issues with this movie. For one, the fact that it starts out right away pretty much dropping the F-bomb within the first five minutes pretty much sets the tone for what you can expect. The movie has a few clever moments here and there, though the idea I got out of the movie is that it would be essentially a Disney or Pixar movie but with raunchy R-rated humor. It is, but I don’t think it does a great enough job in handling the “Disney parody” movie aspect of itself. It starts out with a musical number, and in an overly-cheery way that’s not too different from a Disney movie, and then you hear “shit”. I thought a smarter approach to it, at least as it starts out, to have the movie play pretty much in a completely straight Disney-like manner, establish the characters, but keep everything so far feeling like a legitimate G-rated movie, up until the point that Honey Mustard returns to the store and completely shatters the illusion by yelling “the Great Beyond is BULLSHIT”, just like it happens in the movie, and then have the movie get progressively raunchier as Frank, Brenda and the rest of the gang dig themselves deeper in the guts of the supermarket. I think it would have been a much more clever approach rather than “It’s a Disney movie, but with swearing”.
The pacing is weird. I say “weird” because the movie is really short- it’s just barely less than 90 minutes long, and the movie moves at a good pace for the most part, though the closer we get to the end, the longer the movie feels like it goes on. That’s why I say “weird”- it’s weird that a short movie has parts in it that feels like they go longer than they actually do. The climax is the biggest culprit of this, especially when Douche becomes a part of the action. I get the weird feeling that the movie should be over, but it keeps going, and I know I shouldn’t feel like this because the scene is short, but again, it doesn’t feel like it’s short.
Also, because I can NOT ignore this, I have a good feeling the other thing they took away from Disney was how their movies end with some kind of message. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it took the template from a movie that ended with a pretty heavy-handed message and RAN with that because this is a very, very, very, VERY, and- I can’t stress this enough- VERY anti-religious movie. I’m not kidding when I say that the movie could have straight-up said “fuck religion”, and it would have been more subtle. This is the aspect of the movie that left unsure as to how to feel about it, because this is pretty blunt and transparent. Now, I needed to bring attention to this because of all the things about the movie, this one if played the most straight. Granted, when we get close to the end of the movie, Frank says that he shouldn’t have tried to change anyone’s beliefs because he thought he knew all the answers. THIS is the message, though with the premise of the movie, and considering what they eventually fight against, it leaves quite a LOT of questions left to be answered. Well, then I realized that this is also the movie that ends with an orgy (it’s about three minutes long, but it FEELS a lot longer), and that’s not even the actual ending. The ACTUAL ending is something that will just make you go: “… huh?” and it’s at that point that I came to the conclusion of, well the heavy-handed approach to the message was probably the joke in and of itself. Combine that with the movie’s bizarre ending, and it makes it pretty obvious that the movie is all but outright saying: “yeah, don’t think too deeply about this movie, folks”. I respect it in some ways, and I think that’s my overall feelings on the movie- I probably respect it more than I actually like it. I mean, to be fair, you can only take a movie titled Sausage Party, of all things, so seriously. It’s a stupid movie with some moments of cleverness in the mix, and some pretty funny jokes.
(1,749 words. I will try and shorten these reviews, I will try.)
Yeah... I'm sorry if this review was a bit of a mess. It's not even because the movie itself is a mess- it's actually surprisingly-tightly written, but I just wasn't sure how to gauge it. There's a lot of which I like about it, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I laughed quite a few times- and they were legitimate big laughs that I had watching the movie, too- but that didn't really explain why I'm not as enthusiastic about the movie as I probably should be...
... and then it hit me. It still does a lot of things that are not too out of the range of a regular Seth Rogen movie. Yes, they have their share of funny moments, and even some moments where they can be smart, but they also suffer from a general sameyness, and also that it really only goes so far with how clever it is, in contrast to how clever it probably thinks that it is. While I do think it's solidly written, it also didn't take too strong of an advantage on the elements that it had to play with. Also, most of the humor is still a lot of very immature jokes, which I'm not saying can't be funny, but they also don't hit bull's-eye 100% of the time. I can definitely say that I respect it in the sense that it could open the doors to see more R-rated animated movies, and if there's any ultimate good this movie could do, it's that.
Odds are, if you were eager to see the movie from the get-go, you will NOT be disappointed.
Now, what I DON'T want to see is another Sausage Party, for other reason than whenever something is successful, there will be imitators, and they are generally either very lame, too similar, or straight-up awful. Or any combination of the three.
Well, that's it on my long-awaited review of Sausage Party. I hope you guys enjoyed it and, as you can see, next time we will be at twenty entries in The Wall. I won't do a movie review, though. I think I'm going to do something a little bit different. What will that be? You'll just have to wait and see~
Until then, I'll see you all next time to put another brick in The Wall!