Take Zootopia, change the animals into food, make it unnecessarily perverse, bury the smarter writing in jokes we’ve heard before – and that’s this movie.
I have been telling all my friends about Sausage Party. I’ve been excited for this movie for months. Boasting an ensemble cast including James Franco, Seth Rogen, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader – to name a few talents – I found myself waiting for its release with very little skepticism.
Tonight, I left the theatre thinking, “what a shame.”
It’s a movie about food revering humans as gods. In fact, each morning, as if in prayer, the food at the supermarket breaks into song, hoping to be picked up by a ‘god’ – a human – to be taken to “The Great Beyond” (which is also the name of this song – I’ll go into a bit more about the song later). There are some cases of foodstuffs divided by their differences (there is even a dispute between unleavened bread and bagels, and, in another situation, sauerkraut singing about eliminating JUICE boxes – I’m sure you can figure it out; use your homonyms). The hot dogs aspire to fill up buns, and the liquor section is always inebriated. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what kind of movie this is, and how it’s going to likely end. Sigh.
I have mixed feelings when it comes to Rogen and Franco, or any variation of the usual acting stable they employ (i.e., Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, etc). In moderation, I am okay with them. For instance, I found The Interview stupid, but This is the End was pretty great. Some of the actors they choose to work with have become walking cliches. Even though the idea of an R-rated cartoon about food is new, I’ve already seen Seth Rogen as a hero, Jonah Hill as the whiny sidekick, and James Franco as some guy who, to a degree, enjoys being high, or addicted to drugs (at least two or three times, to boot)! If you’re going to give me a new idea, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone as an actor – especially if I’ve already seen you ride the pony so many times. Would it kill you to grab the bull by the horns?
It’s worth noting some of the messages projected throughout this movie are solid. Don’t believe everything you see/hear/read; question everything. Work together, and put your differences aside. That’s fine and dandy, but some of the methods employed to communicate those ideas were not needed. I get that it’s an R-rated cartoon comedy, but there’s a tasteful, tolerable ‘R,’ and then there’s an over-the-top ‘R.’ This is the latter, and I found those great messages lost among the BS.
Also lost in the BS: the humour. Some of it was funny, but, once again, things I didn’t need to see or hear SO MUCH OF wrecked that, too. Voice acting was solid, but no one really stuck out for me. Rogen was Rogen; Hill was Hill. Blegh.
What’s more, the guy who wrote music for movies like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Enchanted – to name a few – Alan Menken – co-wrote the movie’s main song. In a bizarre twist, I have an inkling he’s going to get a lot of award nominations for the song (it wasn’t a terrible song). It’s another testament to the mixed bag of smart – and dumb -ideas the movie had going for it.
This is probably one of the worst films I’ve seen this year, and I GET what the writers were trying to do. But, it’s a movie that contradicted itself; that tried to sprout seeds in concrete. DO NOT, under any circumstances, take your kids to see this film. If you’re into perverted, offensive, overbearing, cheaply humoured Seth Rogen kind of screenwriting, then sure – this film is for you. The humour wasn’t strong enough for me; the eye-rolling sexual references, and the tropes we’ve seen before bored me to death. I’d recommend a pass on this one.
1 meat grinder out of five.