Title: Sausage Party
Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote:
Homer: Lisa, honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Homer: Ham? Pork chops?
Lisa: No. Dad, those all come from the same animal.
Homer: [chuckles] Yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, *magical* animal.
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Four packets of Injun Orange out of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Barely sentient beings entertain fantasy of a hereafter. Oh, and some groceries fight back against humanity.
Tagline: "A hero will rise."
Better Tagline: "How's your pork?"
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Frank (Seth Rogen) and his fellow wieners are ready, as are all the grocery items at Shopwell's, for journey to the Great Beyond, where the gods that pluck them from the shelves will bring them to whatever version of paradise their particular aisle espouses. But when Honey Mustard unexpectedly returns ("I wanted regular mustard") with sinister tales of what actually goes on, Frank starts to question the party line. Will this jeopardize his burgeoning relationship with curvaceous bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig)? Or are they all doomed?
"Critical" Analysis: How much you enjoy Sausage Party – really, whether you enjoy it at all – will depend mightily on your taste for the tasteless. This isn’t so much about the double entendres and cartoon violence you’ve already seen in the trailers; those are but the tip (inside joke) of the semen-crusted iceberg, because the movie traffics in racial/religious stereotypes and near-Fritz the Cat levels of animated pornography, all in service of a surprisingly nuanced narrative about tolerance.
Well, surprisingly nuanced for a movie in which Nick Kroll plays a literal douche, anyway.
Because if you’ve got the tolerance for that sort of thing, Sausage Party is fucking hilarious. Rogen et al. have always blurred the lines of propriety in their comedies, but nothing has come close to this. The movie was reportedly one pubic hair away from an NC-17 rating, which isn’t hard to believe. What is surprising is what managed to stay in, but then the MPAA has never been celebrated for its consistency. To be fair, the majority of the movie sticks with the profanity, innuendo and violence Hollywood loves. It isn’t until the climax (sorry), culminating in a literal food orgy so frantic you miss half of it in a single viewing.
It's also interesting to see Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg address the issue of ethnic divisions, the representations of which – while admittedly on-the-nose – are undeniably funny. They’re also avenues for further jokes, such as hearing Bill Hader’s Native American “Firewater” talk about being “fuck a guy” stoned, or the running feud between the Jewish "Sammy Bagel Jr." (Edward Norton) and Muslim "Vash" (David Krumholtz) a lavash (a type of Armenian flatbread…the more you know).
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Almost as interesting as harnessing Oscar-winning songwriter Alan Menken to class up the joint by contributing to the film's big opening musical number. Fittingly, only The Little Mermaid can compete with Sausage Party in the animated penis department.
But what's most unexpected is how significantly spirituality figures into the story. When Frank confronts the groceries with proof of the malevolence of the “gods,” they’re predictably resistant. He’s also predictably abusive to them, until Brenda points out the need to hone his approach. It’s a level of sensitivity you don’t see coming, and one quickly forgotten once the angry douche shows back up.
Sausage Party is crude, offensive and not for the young or faint of heart. In fact, if you’re looking for some cheap entertainment this weekend, go hang out at your local theater and count the number of angry parents storming out after mistakenly taking their kids. But it’s also funny in that visceral way that only comes from pushing boundaries and, at often the same time, taking cheap shots. I laughed harder at this than I have at anything in months, which was both cathartic and occasionally mortifying (“Guac and balls?” Jesus).
Because these are grim times, friends. A butternut squash golem is scheming to lead our country, which is tearing itself apart over everything from gun control to whether A-Rod is a Hall of Famer (heh, “rod”). We need laughter; stupid, braying laughter that evokes a deep sense of shame even as you wipe the tears from your eyes. Follow your conscience and vote Sausage Party, America.