Movie Review: “Sausage Party” – Get Baked

Written by Matt Butler August 18, 2016

 

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First off, this review will be explicit. For obvious reasons.

Second, here’s how to immediately improve your viewing experience of Sausage Party: Get smashed as fuck.

“I was getting super baked, like fuck-a-guy baked!”

I can’t say for certain this will work wonders, I went into it stone sober. But I’m just going to take a guess that 90% of the packed theatre was on something, because from the laughter -and the unusually visceral reaction to the Don’t Breathe trailer- they really got something out of it. Drinks, weed, acid, bath salts, take your pick. Really anything you take is bound to make Sausage Party… interesting. But if you’re one of the foolish few that try to treat Sausage Party with discernment and criticism (like me), you might just feel like the designated driver at a stag party. 

It’s too easy to write off Sausage Party as offensive. Because it isn’t. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who came into this movie expecting anything serious or truth-telling. It’s a movie about talking food by the guys who did Pineapple Express for fuck’s sake. In that sense, it falls right in line with South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut. It’ll be shocking, sure, but you at least know what you’ve signed up for. 


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One important difference between these two movies: the opening. Sausage Party’s opening scene leaves nothing to the imagination, with F-bombs dropping within the first 30 seconds. It gives foolish parents enough time to scuttle their kids out of the theatre before minutes later when the first C-bomb drops. With South Park, the opening may seem more deceptive, beginning immediately with its “Belle” parody song. It throws South Park fans off because it’s contrary to expectations, and it set things up for an elegant if not irreverent commentary on censorship. Sausage Party takes the easier route, avoiding subtlety and deviousness. Though it has the same vein of an opening number -with music by Alan Menken, I shit you not- the first minute is what establishes the film for what it really is, a straightforward stoner comedy with a cartoony aesthetic. Whether or not this is a compromise for idiot parents is up for debate. But hey, I hear Pete’s Dragon is really good!

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“Once you see that shit, it’ll fuck you up for life!”

Sausage Party has a decidedly ‘fuck it’ attitude. Compelling characters and storytelling, aspects Pixar spends years meticulously perfecting, are tossed out the window in favour of rapid-fire improvised comedy.You can just see Kristen Wiig in front of the booth, riffing for hours on end, looking at a script that’s only five pages long. Every once in a while you get a good line, but it’s all pretty much the same shits and fucks. The big joke here is the juxtaposition of kiddy animation with stoner comedy, and yeah, that’s fucking hilarious. It makes for great conversation fodder. “Dude, you seen Sausage Party? Oh man, it was fucking insane!” But it’s more the idea of the film than the jokes that makes Sausage Party memorable. And the anti-theist message, though fitting for the story, is way too obvious, and hardly used to its comedic potential.

“They’re jerking off into our eyes, our faces!”

The animation is impressive, but only on a budgeting standpoint. Sausage Party took $19 Million to make, $1 Million over January’s Norm of the North – while we’re on bad animated films, did you know that Food Fight cost $65 Million to make? I die a little inside every time I remember that-. Though unlike Norm or Food Fight, Sausage Party’s lead characters aren’t covered in hair that takes days to render. It’s the same conservative mindset that Pixar likely had with Toy Story. However, it is notable the news of supposedly unpaid overtime and low morale behind the scenes of Sausage Party. It hardly looks like a 2016 animated film (I’d say its aesthetics belong in 2006), but that’s hardly the aim. It is distracting though when characters’ mouth movements struggle to keep up with their voices.

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I do think Sausage Party could have been much better in different hands, like Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) or Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon (Rick & Morty). But then I look again at Sausage Party’s conclusion, in all its triviality, and realize it wasn’t really made to be a long-withstanding movie. It’s just there to ask the mainstream audience if they’re ready for more adult animation. If the box office is any indication, the answer is a resounding ‘Fuck yeah’. I may not be wholly satisfied with Sausage Party as a movie, but I’d be shitting you if I said I wasn’t happy it got made. It’s a testament to how far we’ve come in combatting censorship. It may not have the subtlety of South Park (yes, subtlety) or the eye-opening perspective of Rick & Morty, or the masterful visuals of its parody sources, but Sausage Party definitely has an audience, a baked-as-fuck audience.

My Rating: 6/10

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About Matt Butler

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is a strapping young English Major with a fiery passion for the art of cinematic storytelling. He likes long walks on the beach and knows the proper use of 'your' and 'you're'. (Example: I hope YOU'RE having a wonderful time browsing our site, and I hope you enjoy YOUR time reading my film reviews. I wrote them just for you.)

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