By Michael Kaye
Sausage Party (Review)
There are two misconceptions that I have to address upfront. First off, adult animation is NOT a new concept. There have been plenty of R-rated animated films that came before this, and channels such as Adult Swim and Netflix have made some brilliant adult animated series. Second, there is so much more to the works of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg than what appears on the surface. These guys know how to bury loads of social commentary beneath crass humor that caters to the lowest common denominator. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Sausage Party, directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon.
The story is about one sausage leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store.
I can already see the haters coming from a mile away, and while this review does run the risk of adding fuel to the fire of my reputation of "loving everything," just know that I completely stand by this review. I also understand that this movie is not for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Here are my positives and negatives.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, the cast is awesome. If you've seen any of Seth Rogen's films in the past, then most of these names should sound very familiar to you. the ONE similarity he has with Adam Sandler is that he has a tight group of friends that he frequently collaborates with, including James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, and the list goes on. Of everyone in the cast, my favorite performances came from Rogen as Frank, Kristen Wiig as Brenda Bunson, Nick Kroll as Douche, a surprisingly compelling antagonist, Edward Norton as Sammy Bagel Jr., and Salma Hayek as Teresa del Taco.
This movie was directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, two admittedly odd ball choices for directors, at least on the surface. Tiernan hasn't really done much beyond the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise, but he has experience in traditional animation working at both Disney and the now defunct Sullivan Bluth Studios. Vernon, however, is best known for his work at Dreamworks Animation, which for the longest time was Disney/Pixar's biggest competition, so that makes him a pretty qualified candidate to direct a send up of the Pixar formula. Given the nature of the medium, plus its R-rating, that just opens up infinite possible places to take these characters, and while the bulk of the action takes place at the supermarket, they do a great job creating the world in which they interact.
Guess who helped write the music for this film. I'll give you a hint, he's best known for his work on Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Shop of Horrors. Give up? It's Alan Menken, who's collaborated with Christopher Lennertz on the score. I won't lie, this is not even close to his best work, but the inclusion of the opening musical number "The Great Beyond" adds another layer to their parody of Disney films.
Finally, this is actually both a positive and a slight negative, and that's the creative force driving this whole operation, writers and producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. For 8 years, these guys have been trying to get this project off the ground, but no studio would pick it up. Now, on the one hand, strictly on a surface level, I can understand where they're coming from. This is really the only negative I have, and you guys know how I feel about most comedies with excessive gross out humor. However, this time it really works, but that's because it's merely a distraction for what this movie is really about, which is some pretty biting commentary about atheism and religious tolerance. they also poke fun at the various ethnic stereotypes enforced by certain food packages, such as salsa, tequila, bagels, lavishes, etc. And while I wasn't exactly laughing consistently, I found myself deeply invested in the story and the characters. That being said, there are some big laugh out loud moments, especially towards the last act of the film, which I do not want to give away!
Sausage Party will not be for everyone (ESPECIALLY kids), but it's a movie you need to see to believe! I hope this movie is a huge success, because it could result in the doors busting wide open for more adult animated films to find a mainstream audience. If you liked any of the trailers, you should try your best to see this movie this weekend.
Now I want to hear from you guys. Have you seen Sausage Party, and if so what did you think? Also, what are some story ideas that you want to see in animation that are more adult oriented? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my next review, where Meryl Streep sings her heart out in the inspiring true story of Florence Foster Jenkins.