Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Sausage Party

Cartoons for adults have popped up more and more in recent years with TV shows like BoJack Horseman, Rick and Morty and Archer being really popular examples, so it makes sense that that popularity should spill over into movies. And who better to make such a movie than Seth Rogen and his crew of comedy friends. At first glance, the trailer makes Sausage Party look like the same old movie from these guys, but it is actually really funny and original.

The day in a supermarket begins with all the items singing a song about "The Great Beyond", a magical place where you go when one of the gods (humans) buys you and you can live in harmony with them. Frank (Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig) are excited to be picked because of "Red, White and Blue Day" and they know that they will finally be together. Everything is going okay, until Honey Mustard (Danny McBride), who has returned from "The Great Beyond" and knows the truth, is put in the cart. He attempts suicide and as a result a whole bunch of items are thrown from the cart, including Frank, Brenda, Sammy Bagel, Jr (Edward Norton), Kareem Abdul Lavosh (David Krumholtz) and Douche (Nick Kroll). In the mess that results, Douche is severely injured (his nozzle is bent) and makes it his mission to take his revenge on Frank who just wants to get back to his shelf.

With all those characters, especially Douche, it sounds like Sausage Party is just filled with childish, infantile jokes that would only appeal to teenage boys. But it actually has a lot of jokes that go beyond that. A large chunk of the movie is dedicated to relationship between Kareem Abdul Lavosh and Sammy Bagel, Jr and is used as an allegory for the current Arab-Israeli situation (the Halal food was in their aisle first, but then the Kosher food just had to start taking over). There's actually a lot of this us and them mentality in the film that mirrors real life, everything from more land disputes (Firewater (Bill Hader) says that the supermarket used to be all Native American before other foods came in and took it away), historical genocides (the sauerkraut wants to eliminate all the juice) and even the blind acceptance of religious belief. It's not all real life, a lot of pop culture is made fun of too. My favourite was when the classic Meat Loaf song "I Would Do Anything For Love" is sung by, well, a meat loaf.

This is what we're doing to bacon? It almost makes me not want to eat it.

The characters in this are so fun to watch because special care has gone into creating nearly every single grocery item (both from a character and animation point of view). All the foods are the nationality that they represent, and while this can make for some cultural stereotypes, it's still pretty funny. Salma Hayek's lesbian taco is a bit too obvious but very fun to see (well, hear) such a big star in this role. The same goes for Edward Norton. I had no idea it was him, I actually thought it was Woody Allen. My favourite character was the villain Douche because his characterisation of a fraternity brother who just wanted to get juiced or jacked the whole time made complete sense. Another favourite was the Stephen Hawking style gum who had his own wheelchair and provided the heroes with vital information.

While Sausage Party is crass and vulgar at times, it's also really original. Who would've thought a movie about grocery items would be funny let alone evocative of history and current events (to be fair, it does gloss over these things). Overall, it's a top notch comedy and it's great to be able to go see how far animation has come without having to go to a movie for kids.

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