Movie Review: ‘Sausage Party’
Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Cast: Seth Rogen, Kirsten Wiig, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Edward Norton, James Franco
Plot: Sentient foodstuffs dream of being bought from the supermarket by the ‘gods’ and taken to the promised land, unaware that what awaits them is violent dismemberment and death. One sausage, accidentally dropped from a trolley, stumbles upon the truth but has trouble convincing others of the danger.
Review: I wasn’t going to see this initially. Not because of the content or the people involved, but because the talking food designs wigged me out. The potatoes covered in little eyeballs and the sideways mouth of the hotdog buns…it made my skin crawl. But, like 3D, eventually you stop noticing it and just watch the movie. And watch it I did. Initial impression? Forcibly juvenile.
The premise was ready to be used. We had something similar with Food Fight, but the quicker that movie gets forgotten the better. Aside from the basic joke that food is sentient and doesn’t want to be eaten this concept is only used for puns and racial stereotypes. Shock value is the only note the movie has to play, so it plays it as often and as loudly as possible. Every foodstuff represents a different culture and the movies trots out every expected joke related to that culture. Edward Norton is doing a Woody Allen impersonation to play a Jewish bagel, David Krumholtz is the angry Arab lavash who hates him, the German foods are all Nazis, the Mexican food is all Western movie stereotypes and so forth. Not a lot of thought has been put into the humour.
But there is swearing. So very much swearing. The approach to swearing in this movie is akin to a group of 12 years who are out of their parents earshot and think saying ‘fuck’ non-stop makes them sound cool. It’s one of those cases where in an effort to be an ‘adult’ comedy movie they’ve made it incredibly childish.
Themes of religion, public ignorance and sexuality all play a role in the main story but none of it amounts to anything. There’s no message at the heart of this film, just a basic concept in order to stack swear words and jokes about ejaculate. The feeling of this being juvenile comes through again here, as it feels like a replication of South Park without the satire. All the offensive content and jabs at society with none of the intellect and insight behind it. It says as much about religion as a one of those neckbearded ‘militant atheists’ you find on Reddit.
At the end it finishes on a flat note. After the much discussed food orgy, on which the movie could easily have ended, they begin setting up this gag where the food discover that they are in an animated film and there are people providing their voices. They enter a portal to enter the real world…and then nothing. There’s no punchline. We’re expecting to see them arrive in the real world but all the film-makers got bored and went home instead.
This is all sounding sour grapes, and maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed today, but the movie is funny. You’d have to work really hard not to crack a smile watching it. Some of the racial humour does land a laugh and I enjoy a terrible pun as much as the next person. You’d have to be desperately cynical not to laugh at the lunacy happening on screen. After the endless reviews praising the movie perhaps it turned out shallower than expected. Sausage Party is certainly more for fans of Family Guy than South Park. Shock value for the sake of shock value.
So it’s funny. You’ll have a good time. But it’s got no lasting value. Credit for the Meatloaf scene though.
Rating: SIX out of TEN