Photo via youtube.com
Let us be real – on paper, Sausage Party sounds pretty underwhelming. “I wanna make a full-length cartoon movie that’s like… what if food could talk?… and the main guy’s a sausage because dicks,” declared actor and professional stoner Seth Rogen word-for-word at some point in time, probably. Rogen, however, would go on to co-write and co-produce what can only be called the biggest mess to hit theaters since, ironically, This Is the End.
And oh man, is it a wild, confusing mess. Gross, horrifying, and lewd; tense, hilarious, and surprisingly heartfelt with fantastic animation to boot — Sausage Party is so shockingly in-your-face, so incredibly bizarre, that once you see it, you will not be able to comprehend how you actually found it kind of enjoyable.
The film itself is basically how imaginary Rogen described it above. There is talking food, loads of dick jokes, and even some weed (because how else is the audience supposed to know this is a Seth Rogen film?), but what makes this concept appealing is its overarching theme of existentialism. Protagonist and sausage Frank, voiced by Rogen, uncovers the truth of what happens when the gods (humans) pick them up from their home in the supermarket. The rest of the film is a struggle for survival as Frank races to warn and convince the rest of the supermarket’s inhabitants of their impending fate, all while evading the wrath of a douche (an actual douche) gone insane with the desire for vengeance. Sounds pretty bearable all in all, right?
Well, now it is time to factor in all the offensive stuff. First things first, there is a lot of swearing. Like, a lot of swearing – to the point where it is obvious they are only adding in every curse word under the sun for shock factor (who let those cute little hot dogs say [rhymes-with-punt]?). And for a story about talking food with zero genitals, there sure is a whole bunch of sex in the film, only half of which is consensual.
However, the worst aspect of Sausage Party, by far, is the blatant ballooned stereotypes that bombard the audience. The salsas and tequilas are scary, hyper-masculine criminals and perverts; Sammy is a meek, cheap Jewish bagel… Unfortunately, the film’s overwhelming amount of tasteless, unfunny stereotypes muddies the messages it is trying to relay and really holds it back from being a Fantastic Film.
There actually are some good things about Sausage Party, though. On top of being genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, the film puts an emphasis on sexual empowerment, especially from a female perspective. If small children can learn valuable life lessons from Pixar films, then college kids like you and me can stand to take sex advice from talking hot dogs.
Another surprising pro is the unheard-of amount of queer representation within the fictional supermarket. Yeah, all the fruits are fruits and the Twinkie is annoyingly flamboyant, but they don’t make up even half of the characters who are simply just casually queer individuals. The most notable of these queer characters is Salma Hayek’s Teresa del Taco (of course she’s a taco, right?), whose undying love for Frank’s hot dog bun GF Brenda is actually pretty adorable.
Sausage Party is not great. Many, many people will hate it, that’s a given, but those who enter the theater with an open mind might be surprised to find out how enjoyable and progressive it really is – not only for simply being a crude cartoon, but for its diverse characters and sex-positive standpoints as well.