Saturday, August 13, 2016

Movie Review #470: "Sausage Party" (2016)

Movie"Sausage Party"
Director: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Image Source
All of the products at Shopwell's supermarket believe that when shoppers, also known as "the gods," select them as the chosen ones, they will leave the store and enter into the eternal paradise of the great beyond. When a returned jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) starts trying to tell the other groceries the truth and horrors of what really happens to the foods selected by shoppers, his warnings fall mostly upon deaf ears. The only exception is Frank (Seth Rogen), a hot dog who has fallen out of his package and is now trying to find the true meaning of his existence.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: the entire marketing campaign for this film deserves an Oscar.

Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, "Sausage Party" is an R-rated animated movie about anthropomorphic food living in a supermarket. When we say it is R-rated, we mean R-rated. This is not some line straddling, could potentially be PG-13 affair. It has a hard R, and it's literally one ball hair away from being NC-17. This film features an ensemble cast lending their voices to the various grocery store products, actors like Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Salma Hayek, and Nick Kroll, just to name a few. The products in Shopwell's market believe humans to be gods and think that being selected by one of them means they will spend their lives in the eternal great beyond, unlike those who are never chosen and simply expire or are thrown away. Of course, anyone who has ever eaten knows what really happens to the food that gets taken to the great beyond: to borrow a phrase from another film, "GET IN MY BELLY!!"

"Sausage Party" takes a hefty risk by potentially offending anyone and everyone in an attempt at using satire to examine both political and existential issues. It might soften the blow to have items like bottles of curry sauce and ketchup, hot dog buns, potato chips, and tacos talking about peace in the Middle East and faith in general, but it also risks being an affront to anyone else who has a propensity towards religion. It uses strong stereotypes of nearly every race and nationality, from Jewish bagels to Middle Eastern lavash fighting over shelf space as an allegory for the issues concerning the West Bank, all the way to Nazi jars of sauerkraut who want to exterminate the juice. Oh yeah, it goes there, but it hits everyone equally, so no one can claim it is singling any one specific group out in order to garner cheap laughs. There's always some underlying (but usually not so subtle) social commentary to go along with whatever racial joke is trying to be made.

One could compare what happens in "Sausage Party" to what "South Park" has been doing for the last decade and a half: hiding smart, relevant issues in a sea of vulgarity and dick and fart jokes. In some ways, it's obscene and childish as ears of corn, toilet paper, plums, tomatoes and hummus drop the f-bomb nearly every other word for little purpose other than to watch and hear fruits and veggies say the word, and in other ways, it's borderline amazing and kind of brilliant. We laughed pretty much consistently throughout the film, which is something we cannot say about 90% of most comedies being released today. Some may get tired of the myriad of sexual innuendos, but the greater picture of the sexual repression that goes on between the foods at the grocery store makes it that much more hilarious when, after nearly an hour and a half of build-up, there is a free-for-all food orgy as the buns and the dogs are finally liberated from the shackles of their oppressors.

In the end, "Sausage Party" is not for the faint of heart and is not for those who refuse to discuss their faith. It can be absolutely disgusting at times, but is also has a surprising amount to say about religion, sex, politics, and society as a whole, topics you might not necessarily associate with any of the aforementioned comedy actors. This film is way more smart than it should be, and that's a wonderful thing. We can't deny we had a blast watching this raunchy, derogatory, and horrible, yet pretty insightful, wonderful movie, and though it won't appeal to everyone and is not for the easily offended, it's worth a watch if you're open to having your mind blown by things like a talking hot dog and a sentient bottle of liquor.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~83%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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