SXSW 2016 Review: Sausage Party Redefines Food Porn
Sausage Party is the latest film from comedy duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. These two pals have been wanting to do an R-rated animated film about food for over 8 years and finally in 2016 are able to bring their dream to life. Sausage Party has had a lot of production delays due to funding and finding the right studio to distribute the film. Luckily for Rogen and Goldberg, Sony Pictures decided to help fund the project and release it onto the world on August 12, 2016.
On Monday, March 14, 2016, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg took to the stage at the Paramount Theater at SXSW to show a packed theatre an exclusive work-in-progress cut of their new animated film. Rogen and Goldberg explained to the audience that they were very excited to show the SXSW audience their film. Rogen also wanted to make it abundantly clear that the film wasn’t finished yet and that what we were about to witness was definitely a work in progress.
Sausage Party opens on a musical number which instantly sets the tone for the rest of the film. In this opening number there are jokes about Hitler as well as tea bags wanting to tea bag. Once this song comes to a close, the audience is introduced to a package of sausages and a package of buns. The star of this film is a sausage named Frank (Seth Rogen). Frank likes a bun named Brenda (Kristin Wiig) and the two can’t wait to get to “The Great Beyond” and meet the Gods (humans). As Red, White and Blue day quickly approaches, the Gods flock to Shopwell Market to “rescue” the products from their shelves.
Frank and Brenda are chosen but unfortunately a jar of mustard causes a ruckus which causes them to be stranded in another aisle of Shopwell. Frank and Brenda quickly join forces with many other food items to find their way back to their aisles while they learn the truth of their existence. Frank’s new friends include a jewish bagel named Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton), a middle eastern flatbread named Vash (David Krumholtz), and a female taco named Teresa Del Taco (Salma Hayek).
While I completely understand that Sausage Party is a parody of animated films about inanimate objects, I don’t understand why Seth Rogen and his posse can never take the high road in terms of their comedy. The idea of grocery store items coming to life, hoping to leave the store, and finding out that it will lead to their death is a weird and funny concept. The problem is that the writers never believe the concept is funny enough but instead rely on non-stop sexual gags and references.
In all fairness, Sausage Party is an animated version of This is the End. It relies on infantile humor and non-stop sexual gags to produce laughs. Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Seth Rogen, and Ariel Shaffir all took part in writing this screenplay and I am baffled that none of them dared to dig deeper with some of the other topics that the story brings up along the way. Things like religion and race are part of this story but instead of trying to tackle this, these four writers decide its more important to make jokes about a douche eating out a a juice box. No, I am not kidding.
All the characters made of foods and the non-perishables represent various stereotypes. Once again, instead of trying to make a statement, the writing team was like “fuck it, lets just make all these characters as stereotypical as possible.” Its like the writing team wanted to pretend like they were going to go deeper with certain themes but couldn’t be bothered with it. It is a film that likes to shoot below the belt and doesn’t know anything else besides that.
What is the most disappointing element of Sausage Party is that once the jokes start, they never stop. The first few sexual jokes were fine but after about 15 minutes of them, I had enough. It is pretty clear that Goldberg and Rogen were passionate about this project and I expected some of the humor to be sexual humor because I know how their minds work. What I didn’t expect is that it wouldn’t move past that throughout the entire 85 minute runtime. The film just keeps pushing the infantile humor further by introducing characters that range from a used condom to a Stephen Hawking inspired piece of gum in a wheelchair.
Sausage Party ends with a huge food orgy scene that showcases everything from a threesome involving Teresa Taco, Frank, and Brenda to a Sammy Bagel Jr eating out Vash’s asshole. The entire audience at SXSW seemed to love this meanwhile I sat there staring at the screen asking myself, “Why the fuck is everyone laughing.” I truly saw this moment coming because again with how the story was being told there was no where else to the story to go.
All in all, I wasn’t offended by anything in Sausage Party but rather just disappointed that people actually found it to be funny. Rogen and Goldberg want to so badly be the next Trey Parker and Matt Stone but lack the talent and wit. Matt and Trey know how to write material that is funny, ballsy, and relevant. They do rely on offensive humor but at least there is thought and effort in their writing. I love South Park and almost everything they have done. I really don’t know how comedy has fallen so far and how we as a society just keep giving into lazy filmmaking like this. Critics and audiences alike have bashed Adam Sandler for the past 5 years meanwhile Seth Rogen and his buddies have been doing the same thing again and again. I feel disappointed that I will be one of the few who truly hate this film and think this brand of humor is beyond stupid and unfunny. I know people think that these guys are witty and clever but I don’t see it. I think these guys write like a bunch of 12 year olds. They are untalented and unfunny. Sausage Party sucks a big fat wiener.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Sausage Party is a 2 out of 10.