By: The Cinephiliac (Two Beers) –
A psychedelic experience can be characterized by a fragment in time when your perception of the world becomes altered, bending in ways that allows the observer to see what is arguably considered the “real world.” Experiences within these moments are segmented by a bolder, brighter view of one’s physical surroundings as the senses are heightened. The observer begins having deep philosophical thoughts on what is around and beyond your current focal point— at least that’s what I hear.
The entire premise of Sausage Party roots itself in the psychedelic experience as a form of storytelling. Sausage Party feels like a trip because it is unlike anything before it. I’m not saying that Sausage Party being a raunchy comedy veiled in the childhood aesthetics of animation makes it exceptional among those before it. There have been porn films staring puppets, a R-rated animated musical staring adolescents, and a police drama with marionettes that still looms in the public consciousness.
Love you Matt!
What makes Sausage Party so epic is how it uses its premise to shout a bit of logic to audiences. There’s also the boldness of showing us a bunch of food taking part in a really graphic, steamy orgy. Seth Rogen has a repertoire of films that speak for themselves and his style of humor. If you’ve watched and enjoyed any of his previous films, then Sausage Party is pretty much exactly what you’d expect with some elements that you wouldn’t. For anyone outside of his realm of films looking to watch Sausage Party, good luck. Sausage Party is absurd, it’s crude, childish, and offensive. It’s also brilliant. Admittedly, Sausage Party has a very privileged view on certain topics and cultural complexities, which is a reason many who watch it may misconstrue the crux of it. Nevertheless, Rogen and company’s white male privilege does allot them the ability to tackle some controversial topics in open, honest ways.
It’s true though, crackers really do have nice aisles.
I’m all for this thick layer of social commentary slathered on in a film. If spelling out the ridiculousness of religious and political dogma controlling our cultural norms and moral codes is the only way for people to become aware of it, then write it in caps and in bold. But not italics, that’s just counterproductive. Sausage Party covers a barrage of social issues that are explored through the various characters we follow as they go through a collective existential crisis. A sausage (Seth Rogen), a bun (Kristen Wiig), a Jewish Bagel (Edward Norton), an Islamic Lavash (David Krumholtz), a Mexican taco (Salem Hayek), a legitimate douche bag (Nick Kroll) along with a grocery store full of archetypes and silly puns allow the screenplay writers’ (Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Alex Shaffir, and Kyle Hunter) well-written script to lead the characters into some unforeseen territories. Some of these issues are acknowledged intensely although not as delicately explored. The bagel and lavash conflict, the most important political aspect of the film, explores the wedge between Palestine and Israel, but is only touched on generally and frankly, ignorantly.
The true peacemaker.
Things get wackier toward the second half of the film revving up the antics of the plot. But, characters don’t receive the personal change that one would expect from a film like this. The beginning sets up various characters’ belief systems and personalities. They show us the flaws in these characters, hinting at a redemption or evolution that doesn’t happen. If it does, they evolve into worse people… well food.
Barry (Michael Cera) begins the film as a deformed sausage ridiculed by his peers and only uplifted by Frank’s (Rogen) joyful outlook on the future. When Barry is set off on his own in the land of the “gods”, he must face his fears and realize his own potential, but he does so in a very annoying, not so endearing way, making it hard to enjoy later scenes where he is the focus. Brenda (Wiig) is a self-righteous mean girl of sorts towards the beginning of the film. She’s so haughty that the c-word gets thrown at her, and yet she never undergoes a moment of self-evaluation or redemption. Her attitude is never checked, only her beliefs, which is a dangerous tool for human evolution.
It’s totally ok that I’m still an awful person, because someone made me realize my zealot nature is silly. K, bye.
Sausage Party still makes for a grossly hysterical hour and a half of entertainment that will make you acknowledge your own belief systems only to confront the fact that belief is only as strong as the word itself. Sausage Party is smart and biting. It even manages to rope in the conflict of ideological differences between partners. Leave the kids at home if you have any, then go out and see this film. At its simplest, it’s a goofy film that beckons viewers to be more conscious of their eating habits. But, pay attention to the subtext, because there’s some meaty topics and arguments to engage with in this film.
Sausage Party (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time someone talks of the Great Beyond
Do a Shot: anytime your favorite food is shown.
Take a Drink: for every object that’s alive and is not food.
Take a Drink: every time a food massacre takes place.
Do a Shot: any time the arguments being made get way too real.