Sausage Party Review: Lock Up the Food and Hide the Kids
What is this? Spoof? Comedy? Horror movie? An exercise in foul language just for the fun of it? Whatever you ultimately take away from Sausage Party, it's definitely more art than commerce, and you'll be surprised that a major motion picture studio backed this weird delve into the depraved minds of it's creators, led by writers Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg along with directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon and a whole stable of who's who in the comedy world including such luminaries as Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Bill Hader and so many others. Sausage Party is first and foremost a Pixar parody that attempts to take the hugely popular and financially successful animated powerhouse down a notch or two. But it's more Wile E. Coyote as it continually blows itself apart in the most cruel and unusual ways while that proverbial bird zips along, stopping to peck at seed, with a cloud of chaos behind it, none the wiser.
That's to say, Pixar won't be affected by the cruel taunts, thumb on nose finger waves this odd bit of cinema offers at an expedite rate. The big question should be, is Sausage Party ever funny? I'd have to argue that no, it's not. Not in the laugh out loud sense that most seeking comedy know it to be. It's more Neil Hamburger than Kevin Hart. And the audience I saw it with were relatively quiet, like any modern person out in public watching a kid have a screaming breakdown. Ignoring the loud abrasive child, hoping the parents will do something, anything to keep that kid from crying up a ruckus. Sadly, they never do.
Some of the younger teens in the audience laughed at the non-stop stream of cuss words coming out of the food. But for the most part, it appeared to be swearing for swearing's sake, and never helps set up a joke, push it along, or make it funnier. And that, my friends, is the joke right there. It is food swearing in a supermarket. And you can't really attach any emotional weight to it, because it's food.
There's no heart to Sausage Party. It meanders with dead soul eyes, an atheist of animated cinema. How could one become attached to any single character in the movie? Knowing they will all perish sooner than later. In any given Pixar movie, be it the Toys in Toy Story, the Cars in Cars or the Fish in Finding Dory, these are all sustainable things that are easy to personify with human emotions. Not food. It will mold. It will rot. It will go in the garbage fairly quickly. And your hunger will win out. It is incredibly hard to identify with, or even root for any of the characters in Sausage Party. Because it is food. And that's the joke. And it's a pretty smart one.
And this is where the loophole of logic starts to emerge. And midway through watching Sausage Party, staring at it more in awe of what I was looking at than anything else, it became apparent what a collaborative piece of pop art this truly is. Sure, this may sound like a negative review up until this point. But it is not meant to be. Sausage Party has mixed up a wild bag of emotions inside of me on a lot of different levels, and this movie is some deep layered kind of monster that works on a number of levels. A 7 layered dip, if you will. And at that, it's nothing short of a mindful masterpiece and critique on where animated cinema currently stands.
It's a deep mathematical equation that is not easily consumed in one setting. From the moment it starts, you sense there is no hidden food agenda at play. It's not trying to get you to become a veagan, or a meatatarian. Maybe it's pro-marjiuana, anti-bath salts. But even then, it doesn't necessarily begrudge its junkie, the first human to discover food has a soul. It's realistic and alive in ways that few live-action movies are. While it's sold first and foremost as a comedy, it's truly a horror movie at its heart. And that's where the cold line of disconnect is drawn between it and the audience. And some may find that hurtle impossible to hobble over, under or above as it makes you squint in disgust often, grimace even more. Turn your stomach, and attempt to poke out your eyes with its naughty behavior.
Towards the end, the movie has one of the most disturbing and awful beheading scenes ever put to celluloid. It is as realistic, perhaps even more so, than anything seen in any recent thriller. And the way the characters react to said severed head is truly shocking on a level you wouldn't think could be reached at this point. Which is a wonder to behold, while also being a true turn off in every sense of the word.
It will be interesting to watch the fate of Sausage Party unfold as a future cult classic. Straight up, Sausage Party is not reviewable. Because when it comes to this movie, only your sole opinion matters. And no one else will be able to sway you. There will be a wild spectrum of reactions to this. And whether you love it or hate it, none of what anyone brings to the table in regards to this beast will be wrong. Or right. It is juiced alchemy. It is truly the best and worst movie of the year all rolled into one. And because of that, I have to give it a wild, careening 'whoop-doo' endorsement. If you've seen the trailers you know what you're getting yourself into. There is no false advertising on Sony Pictures behalf. If you like what you've seen thus far, this movie will not disappoint. If you are turned off by the trailer and clips, turn away now and forever hold your piece. You've been warned, and I don't want to hear about it later.