Insert Food Pun Here: A review of Sausage Party

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This is such a strange movie. Not just because it has a wildly ingenious concept and some of the most gobsmackingly disgusting/hilarious/wrong things I’ve seen in the cinema all year. But because I wanted it to be so much better.

It is, in the end, a disappointment, but it’s not without its pleasures, the likes of which come from outside the bubble of sex jokes and drugs that come with a Rogen/Goldberg movie. Thus, it’s quite difficult to talk about because whilst I willed myself to like it more, I can’t help but reluctantly say that I laughed a small handful of times, and they weren’t even particularly hard laughs either.
I guess by the time I had seen Sausage Party I was already desensitised to the humour derived from the concept by the trailer, which as a regular moviegoer, I’d seen a whole bunch. Also because the trailer misleads you in how the movie plays itself out, the stuff in the trailer set in the house is just one scene of the finished film and not the entire story.
The rest is a weird mix of Toy Storys’ gotta get back home plot and a sort of Last House on the Left revenge story. Again, there’s still good stuff here but it’s not what you expect going in and though it does get better towards the end, I felt like I wasn’t watching the film I had wanted from the trailer.
In particular, this is a Seth Rogen movie, which means that the swearing, dick jokes and drug references were turned up to eleven and though there’s nothing wrong with that sort of humour per say, I think Sausage Party was such a high concept movie that all of the frat humour seemed distinctly out of place.
Believe me, I’m all up for raucous humour but all of the sex jokes and weed references were honestly quite tiring and it took up a lot of space for where great jokes could’ve been. I mean, just look at the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs films which were packed with food/animal puns and did it without a single curse word.
Just being sweary and vulgar does not replace actual jokes. Funny thing is I watched a Gene Wilder clip a couple hours before the film and he said that he hadn’t watched a lot of modern films as they have too much profanity. Well, when they’re like this, I agree with him.
Then you have the obvious crudities of the cultural stereotypes that literally swamp every frame of Sausage Party and there are honestly so many that it feels kind of pointless to be annoyed when clearly the writers were aiming to push boundaries on purpose.
That’s no excuse of course and the sheer amount of cliched characters and stock impressions turned most of this film into a cringefest worth forgetting before the film was literally one minute into its running time. It’s really not necessary.
Yet, that’s not to say that there weren’t pleasures because I genuinely believe that with some diligence and restraint this could have been a really great film. You have the concept, which I love to pieces and could’ve provided an entire movie with its laughs and the execution, the animation, voice artists and music are all there in spades.
Thankfully the film does at least build to something worthy of its big ideas (SPOILERS), a massive multisexual orgy that is too horrifying to put into words or to even laugh at. But as something so totally audacious, it succeeds because it doesn’t need to make lame dick jokes but just use the visual of a taco and a hot dog bun, well, I don’t need to spell it out, to be funny by itself.
Like the puppet sex scene from Team America, this scene nails what makes it funny and goes someway to give the film a more satisfying finale. Which comes after another funny spin on a Toy Story idea, the revolt against the human/s and pushes it to grotesquely brilliant levels.
As I said, there are funny moments scattered throughout (Meat Loaf was obvious but genius, some of the food body horror namely the hotdog head split) and some genuine sparks of genius that come with the high concept and the original score from only Alan bloody Menken features a pretty catchy opening song ‘The Great Beyond’.
Yet, with too many drug and sex jokes, a pretty basic plot, a lot of unnecessarily offensive humour and a bit of lame and blatant allegory on religion and atheism, Sausage Party suffers where it should have soared.
Essentially it’s not as clever as it, nor I, wanted it to be

Rating: C+

*Maybe I’m thinking I’ll watch it again and I might like it a bit more. Let me know what you think 🙂

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