Saturday, October 22, 2016

'Sausage Party' Is as Cringy as It Is Funny and Smart

Sausage Party is set in a supermarket called Shopwell’s wherein anthropomorphic food products and other grocery items enthusiastically worship humans as gods, eagerly waiting for the day when they will be finally purchased and be taken to the “Great Beyond.”  The plot centers on a group of food products – led by a hotdog (sausage?) named Frank (Seth Rogen) – who discovers the dreadful truth about the horrific fate of food at the hands of their “gods”, and the existential and survival struggles that ensue.

This is easily one of the weirdest, if not the weirdest, movie I’ve seen this year.  The whole concept of food being alive and are being murdered when humans eat them is just absurd and unsettling.  Nonetheless, this movie is the first of its kind that I’ve ever encountered.  By that, I don’t mean the first R-rated animated movie, but the first R-rated animated movie that emulates the visual style and anthropomorphic premise of the animated movies produced by Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks.  It’s incredibly bizarre, but its originality is definitely one of its greatest strengths.
It’s unrestrainedly raunchy and offensive.  But it also has tons of cleverness as well.  It characterizes the foods through referencing and stereotyping real-life people and cultures, which is probably racist but genuinely funny.  Furthermore, it surprisingly utilizes thoughtful metaphors amidst its coarse and rowdy narrative.

Another thing that this movie can boast about is its star-packed cast consisting of the likes of Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, David Krumholtz, Edward Orton, Paul Rudd, and others.  That’s like a step up from the entire cast and cameos of This Is the End.
I found Sausage Party mostly okay.  It’s smart, and it’s more hilarious than distasteful.  However, the last few minutes of the movie, which is supposed to be its biggest and most audacious joke, were too much for me – I found that sequence (you’ll know what I’m referring to if you’ve seen the movie) cringe-worthy.  I recognize that this movie is littered with obscenity, but there are some insightful lessons to be had as well.  Until that point.  Though I understand that that scene is primarily intended for comedy, I still don’t like the implication that nihilistic hedonism is the drawn conclusion of the narrative’s philosophical journey.

Thus, I can’t really say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie though I did appreciate its freshness and cleverness in general.  It’s just that a part of me felt that Sausage Party went disgustingly overboard a bit in its R-rated spoofing of the Disney-Pixar-DreamWorks animation style.

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