Sausage Party is a shock comedy that’s heavy on “shock” and light on “comedy”. The film is supposed to subvert clean-cut animated films with inappropriate dialogue and black humour, but ends up becoming a crass and awkward in-joke between the comic cast.
After countless successful mainstream comedies, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg seem to have earned carte blanche, meaning that the producers are usually able to run with wild ideas. Sausage Party is another off-the-wall attempt within the same gusto that was exhibited in their controversial comedy The Interview. However, after the global debacle that nearly sank that film, Sausage Party – a story about living, breathing supermarket items who discover their grim fate – plays as a safer bet with more widespread targets. Much of the camaraderie starts to actually take the same form as the jokes and charm of Superbad.
Unlike Superbad, the problem with Sausage Party is it doesn’t have a heart to match its dirty mind. It vies to hit new levels of raunch, a decision that inevitably overshadows coherency and cleverness within this flick.
With these shock artists utilizing a much more visual medium with a variety of cultural condiments and snacks, it’s expected that stereotypes would come into play. However, the heaving amount of dependence directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon have for out-of-date cultural clichés is disappointing and pathetic. It’s the type of baiting that grows more obnoxious over the course of its condensed runtime. The film does try to make a satirical jab towards race relations between Islamic and Hebrew people (Kosher and Halāl foods are unhappy to be placed within the same aisle), but Sausage Party takes the scenic route to make that point in order to illustrate cynical and arrogant judgements.
I wish Sausage Party dialled down its crudity. I don’t consider myself a prude, but I’m irritated when gratuitous cursing and lewd behaviour is “inserted” rather than “worked in”. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why so many four-letter words are dropped, or why less-imaginative characters are given too much screen time other than to surprise movie goers. However, we’re unable to be surprised when the film is constantly trying to out-shock the previous scene. This all comes to a head during a painfully squeamish and illogical orgy. Thankfully, that happens towards the end.
Sausage Party has a few strengths: many of the celebrity voices are camouflaged well, the opening song is amusing as is its purpose, and the film’s final act verges on the type of violent anarchy reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s twisted Meet the Feebles. However, the film relishes in the infantile gutter of lowbrow comedy to an infuriating effect.
The demographic of prepubescent boys who draw bulging anatomy in bathroom stalls finally have their movie.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie