Monday, August 15, 2016

[Review] Sausage Party

You can almost picture Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and collaborator Evan Goldberg sitting around smoking copious amounts of weed together and then creating the ludicrous script for the raunchy hot trash that is Sausage Party. Yeah, it's a rare R-rated animated comedy. And yeah, the buzzing trailer prompted a lot of Facebook posts. But this subpar gimmick isn't nearly as clever or spicy as it thinks it is. The movie reminds me of when someone tells you the plot to a story idea that they randomly came up with, and it sounds awful, but they go through with it anyway. Or when someone tells you about their dream from last night, but they're the only person infatuated with it.

The film revolves around a grocery store and the anthropomorphic food items that occupy the aisles. Seth Rogen voices a Hot Dog named Frank, while Kristen Wiig plays his love interest--a bun named Brenda. Frank's single motivation is to get his wiener into Brenda's buns, which is about as humorous and imaginative as a pervy uncle writing popsicle stick jokes. Anyway, every food has hopes of being picked out by the "Gods" (humans) to go off into the light that awaits beyond the automatic doors. But instead, reality hits as the produce is tortuously sliced and chopped, cooked and boiled.

Rounding out the list of groceries is a Hitler-esque jar of Sauerkraut that hates "Juice" (Ha, get it?), Bill Hader as a Native American bottle of booze, the Salma Hayek-voiced taco, Craig Robinson as Mr. Grits, and a Jersey Shore "Guido"/ Boston Bro mix who doubles as an actual Douche. That's one of the characterizations that initially had chuckle-worthy potential, but the guy is ultimately too rapey to laugh at. Edward Norton as a bagel and Michael Cera as a little sausage are the only true highlights, lending some amusing voicework to the least obnoxious incarnations of the bunch.

For the majority of the trip, Sausage Party spoils and rots with overstretched one-note gags, predictable puns, juvenile innuendos, and bottom shelf stereotypes. During the messy climax (which involves a food fight, food sex, and bath salts--yes, you read that right), the film attempts to flip its possible offensiveness with a half-hearted "We should all put aside our differences and come together" sentiment, as well as a big dose of self-awareness. However, it feels more like a frat boy version of the "I'm not racist... I have a black friend" response. The movie also smashes you over the head with a "RELIGION IS BAD!" message in such a constant and on-the-nose way that even people who agree might be thinking, "Okay, we get it dude."

And even if you look past the not-PC alarms, the film's problem is that it's just not very funny. South Park has been doing this sort of thing for years (years!), and in a more effectively caustic manner, even during the show's less-than-savory phases. I mean, at this stage in the game, watching animated food engage in a smang fest is one of the least outrageous things we could witness. The script is littered with F-bombs to once again remind you that you're watching an R-rated cartoon (isn't it CRAZY?!), but it just comes across like a bratty elementary school kid who just discovered swear words.

Sausage Party isn't fresh at all; it's fucking expired.

( 3/10 )

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  1. You nailed it, dude. The dozen or so people in the theater when I saw it merely gave, as I did, the occasional polite chuckle. I laughed a bit more at the food orgy, but that's it. The Douche character got tiresome after the fiftieth "bro" wuz uttered.

    1. Yeah, my theater experience seems like it was similar to yours. I really wanted to like this thing, but the laughs were low and it got obnoxious very quick.

      Thanks for your comment!