Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sausage Party (2016) movie review

Sausage Party (2016)

Shit.
Fuck shit fuck.
Shit fuck fuck fucked fucking shit motherfucker dick shit fuck fuck fuck.

Now that we have discussed the script and attempt at comedy, let's get down to the rest of the movie.

As you can see, I was not very impressed with Sausage Party.  Normally when I dislike a movie this much I warn about massive spoilers, but everything I will complain about is pretty damned obvious and most people will have been able to guess this without me saying anything, BUT, possible spoilers ahead.

Let me rewind to the time before I saw this movie.  I think it was during either the Star Trek marathon, or maybe Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates, that I first saw this trailer.  The basic premise, from what I gathered, was that food in the supermarket thinks getting picked and leaving the store is equal to a heaven like situation.  Once in the kitchen however, food finds out the brutal truth that food is there to be massacred and eaten, not taken care of.

When I saw that trailer the first thing I thought about was that scene in Toy Story where the toys in the machine were waiting to be picked by the claw so they could go to nirvana.  It was a smart and witty comment on society's need for religion.  Now, anyone familiar with South Park will remember the South Park episode called The Simpsons Already Did It where Butters tries to come up with a way to punish the world, only to be told each time by his side kick that The Simpsons already tried that one.  They were very sneakily saying that every time they try and write an episode they found that The Simpsons had already done one similar to the one they were thinking of writing.  By the end of the episode they say that it is ok that The Simpsons already did it, as most stories have already been told, so we have to accept that fact.  So in the spirit of South Park, I figured I would give this a chance to see if they have anything to add tot hat concept, and if they can entertain while doing so.

The movie starts off with one of the characters almost immediately uttering the word shit.  I wish I had the actual script, not the older one floating around the internet, so that I could see exactly what the first few lines were, but I can tell you this, shit and fuck were used within one minute of the first word uttered.  Now, I am not one to be upset or have any issues with crude language, as obviously I am fine writing those words here, and hearing them in any movie I see.  In fact, I welcome those words if and when appropriate, or even when not, if it serves a purpose.  Comedy can be and is a purpose, but the trick is, it has to be funny.  Since funny is subjective, I will just go on to say I find some things extremely funny, and others not at all.  But I usually prefer something a bit witty, over just straight up crude or shocking.  BUT, and this is a huge but, I did like the Jackass 3D movie I finally caught recently, I love both South Park and Drawn Together and The Boondocks, and completely random ridiculous youtube videos that are crude and offensive to many.  Though I may prefer wit, crude is not an issue for me.

The best way for me to describe the start of this movie would be to compare it to going on Omegle or Chatroulette.  For those of you that don't know, those are sites where you are anonymous webcammer, connected with another anonymous webcammer.  People wear masks, dance, do magic tricks, sing, play instruments, and other various things.  Now, if the person who cams up is naked and masturbating, you know immediately what they are all about, at least in that very moment.  They are not looking to discuss politics, talk about their depression, or connect with someone in any way except sexually, and it has to be immediate.  They are not looking to chat you up for even one minute, their immediate action says all you need to know about what any further interaction with them will most likely be.  I personally am not judging those people, and there are people that like that sort of thing, but even I prefer to get to know someone a bit before I see their genitals.  The shock of exposed genitals does not shock me anymore, it is bland and boring, much like how a gynecologist must feel after seeing the ten thousandth vagina.

Sausage Party is exactly that.  An exposed genital just sitting there, pleasing itself with no regard to anything else at all.  I am guessing, though I don't think it's much of a stretch, that the writers of this comedy were high as fuck while writing it.  Again, no judgements, there are funny stoner comedies, like Super Troopers, and Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle, both of which, if I remember correctly, were pretty crude at times.  But that is the whole thing, they didn't start off crude, and in your face, like someone masturbating on cam when you meet them.  They worked their way up to the crude, which made the crude all the more crude, shocking and funny.

After they have set the tone of the movie, they move on to the requisite funny opening song, which we are all familiar with from watching tons of South Park episodes.  The same has been done in Drawn Together, The Boondocks, and a million other adult-ish animation shows and movies.  The thing about those songs, other than being crude, is that they are also usually VERY memorable.  You find yourself humming them after only a couple listens, sometimes after just one.  I have always been shocked at how quick I can recognize a South Park song, or hum it weeks or months after I heard it once.  Same with many other shows.  While I did chuckle at one line in the song about the German food being a tad bit intolerant, the song itself was pretty boring and not memorable at all.  In fact, they play the song again, and go over the lyrics as well in the middle of the movie.  By the third playing of the song over the end credits I could hum along to it, but after I left the theater the song immediately left my head, which is not a good sign.

As they very meager plot is forwarded, we meet characters and get the general gist of what is going on.  Food is waiting to be picked before it expires, and some characters are into each other.  Next day comes, and one of the characters that was picked the day before gets returned.  He is a mess, freaking out after he witnesses the slaughter of all of his friends.  He tries to warn the others, but no one wants to listen.  At this point, the characters who are into each other get picked, as does the honey mustard that was picked the day before.  He is still panicking and due to his freaking out, a shopping cart accident happens and some of the characters are left at the store, including the ones who are into each other.  When I had seen the trailer, I had assumed much of the movie would take place outside of the supermarket, but in reality most of it happens right there.  The scene from the trailer in the woman's house where she is making food is in the movie about this time, and to be honest this is the most witty part of the movie, but as I said, it was in every trailer I saw, so this did not amuse as much as it should have.

At this point we meet a few more characters, the angry douche, the Jew hating Arab bread, the anti Arab Jewish bagel, the sexy little taco, the drunk American Indian alcohol, the black grits, and many others.  The main sausage (who looks like a hot dog) decides to question whether their belief system is correct, while the bun he likes decides she prefers to believe in what they have been taught.  The movie is relatively anti-religion, which is fine with me, but most of the jokes are on such a simplistic level that if you didn't already think these things yourself then you should wonder what you use your brain for in the first place.  Plus the characters are so simply constructed, their personalities following the known and simple stereotypes that exist in the world, with little to no variation on the theme at all.

By this time in the movie I have realized it is probably not going anywhere, which was a shame.  The animation was decent, good enough for what they were going for, mostly in a Pixar style, which is funny since they make fun of Pixar by having a character driving a car with a Dixar bumper sticker.  The vocal work is OK, but the characters are so one dimensional you could have had anyone do a Woody Allen impression for the Jewish bagel, but somehow they spent the money on Edward Norton instead.  I really wonder if having bigger name stars do the voices for things like this really make a difference at the box office or not.  It definitely worked for Toy Story, but does every animated movie need such big name stars?

The jokes, if you can call them that, are not very funny at all.  The problem is, this movie is designed to be seen while drunk, high, or having been hit in the head too many times.  I recently caught Mike Judge's Idiocracy recently, knowing next to little about it.  In that movie, an average guy from our time ends up 500 years in the future, and ends up being the smartest man in the world, the state of humanity having completely fallen apart.  In this land of idiots, the #1 movie is called Ass, and all it consists of is 90 minutes of an ass on screen, sometimes farting.  The most popular show on TV is Ouch My Balls!  Although the TV show alludes to Jackass style programming, the movie feels more like Sausage Party, one long one note joke with little else going on.  The funny thing is, Mike Judge is best known for Beavis And Butt-head, a show that many people said was the dumbest show in the history of man.  Comparing that show to Sausage Party makes Beavis And Butt-head look like PBS programming.

One last comment on the movie itself, particularly one very talked about scene.  SPOLIERS!!!!  The movie ends, more or less, with a literal food porn scene, an massive orgy of food item violating food item.  There's gay, straight, bi, threesomes, foursomes, moresomes, etc etc etc.  By the time this scene was presented, I was so numb from the rest of the movie it came off as pure overkill.  It was also edited ridiculously fast, most likely so the old MPAA ratings guys couldn't focus too closely on what was going on.  I even read some of the script of the action in this scene, and to be honest, although it all sounds familiar, none of it really registered.  It was just more of the same. 

I must confess to have never seen a Seth Rogan movie before, as far as I know.  I missed This Is The End, which shares many stars with Sausage Party, and I have never seen Superbad or Pineapple Express.  So although I did have an idea this would be both raunchy, foul, crude and filled with weed humor, I still expected something more from it, considering how many people run out to see these movies.  I must say I was disappointed in both the film makers and humanity.  Even more so, I am in shock that the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes have this rated at 82% overall, and 86% for the Top Critics.  The audience score is only 67%, which means either the audience is more discerning than the critics, or so many critics did not review this knowing they would hate it.  I would love to know the real reason.

I have to take particular note of the audience that saw this screening with me.  Although I have no proof, much of the audience, even though it was an 11PM showing on a weeknight, looked under 18.  They seemed to find the movie amusing, which sounds about right, as when I was 14 maybe this would have been pretty funny to me, even though I was a pretty discerning kid even back then.  I just find it amusing that a movie which is rated R will mostly appeal to a younger crowd.  There is little in this film that most kids wouldn't have already seen in real life, or in youtube videos.  At this point most 8-16 year olds have seen porn at least once in their lives, many watch it often.  I'm not judging here, just stating facts.  None of this movie will be a shock to kids, other than the fact that it is a major motion picture.  They usually see this in 3 minute increments on youtube.

The other thing I have been wondering is what movies are benefiting most from the fact that most kids are buying tickets to other movies so they can sneak into this one.  I know from people I have spoken to that buying a ticket for one film to get into an R rated film is a common occurrence.  They may or nay nor even see the movie they paid for, the end goal is to see something they aren't "allowed" to see.  But what movies are secretly making more money due to this?

Anyways, this was a rough outing for me, I really hoped that this would deliver something more than bare bones minimum sex and drug jokes, but I was mistaken.  There is enough comedy just like this all over the web, in much more palatable lengths.

5 out of 10 stars.

Location : Regal Times Square E-Walk 13, theater 12, NYC
Date and time : Monday August 15th, 2016 at 11 PM
Format : DCP
Audience : 30-40 people, many teens and young adults, seemed like they thought it was funny