‘Sausage Party:’ Salty Dogs

For what should have been an innocent, filthy animated movie about anthropomorphic food items, Sausage Party has been the subject of some real controversy. Artists who worked on the film allegedly weren’t compensated fairly for overtime hours. There are a plethora of differing views about how progressive Salma Hayek’s queer Latina taco character, Teresa del Taco, actually is. And worst of all, my fiancé had to explain the joke in this “Mazel Tov!” billboard to my mother when we drove past it in the car one day.

So when I finally saw it, a week or two after most responsible, professional movie critics did (give me a break, my MOM was in town and we were BUSY schooling her on bris jokes!), I thought, This better be funny. And for the first five seconds (OK maybe a little longer than that), it was!

However grown up you think you are, it’s hilarious to see a jar of honey mustard with eyes scream, “FUUUUUUCK !” It just is. And then very quickly after that, when “cute food cursing” seemed to be the only joke structure holding up the movie, it got old. And then it got sort of funny again. And then it got maybe probably racist. And then it was funny for a second. And then it became this weirdly serious debate about religion. And then it got funny when Meatloaf the singer was Meatloaf the food. And then it got inappropriate again. And then it got shocking-funny when actual human heads started rolling. And then at the end, it boldly ventured into straight-up animated porn territory, and you kinda laughed because of how uncomfortable it was and because of how you almost took your MOM to see this but chose the new Woody Allen movie instead.

The journey that led to the wild food orgy started one morning with the opening of the grocery store. The food items on the shelves were so happy and full of song. They all wanted to get picked by humans and go to “The Great Beyond,” the mysterious land of peace and joy that they were all sure existed beyond those sliding glass doors. None of the food had any idea that humans diced them, ate them, murdered them in cold blood. It would be the job of Frank (Seth Rogen), the aptly named hot dog, to spread the word that the great food gods weren’t actually gods at all, that they’d all been fed lies to keep them complacent and ignorant.

Sausage Party has all the grown-up words you can imagine, but Seth Rogen and company didn’t take the easy road and write just a funny movie full of bad words, food puns, and funny voices. (Those are all present, but they don’t make up for the other stuff). The hard road they chose proved too bumpy for them to handle. The movie tries to tackle several hot-button racial issues and the very grown-up discussion of religion, faith and the existence of God, and they don’t do it well and the movie gets bogged down by all of it.

It’s an animated film about talking food with filthy mouths. It should have been consistently funny. It seemed like an easy task, but the writers leaned way too hard into serious stuff they weren’t equipped to handle.

Plus, the bris joke wasn’t even in the movie, so that billboard, which, again, my FIANCÉ had to explain to MY MOM, was wholly unnecessary.

Grade: B-

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7 years ago

I was reading this review, and it started off interesting. Then it was repetitive. Then it was boring. Then it was repetitive again. Then it was pointless reading the rest.