Movie Review: Sausage Party

Last night I saw Sausage Party with my brother. It was hysterical. Like many great comedies, it attempted to push the boundaries of what the audience is willing to accept as a joke and ultimately laugh at. There were a lot of uncomfortable moments in this movie, the least of which involved cartoon foods having sex. The main character is a hotdog named Frank whose only desire is to get inside of Brenda, a bun. The movie abounds with food puns like this one and they provide many of the laughs that come throughout the movie.

Another central theme is God. All of the foods believe that once they leave the grocery store they’ll go to this wonderful place called “The great beyond” where they can leave their packaging and be free (and, ultimately, have sex). Their only reason for believing in the great beyond is a blind faith in the gods. The narrative arc is simple: Frank’s belief is shaken by a jar of honey mustard that is returned to the store, so he searches for truth. The film’s many allusions to religious institutions are lightly veiled. At it’s core, Sausage Party is a satire on religion in America.

Another central motif is the characterization of the foods as stereotypes of the cultures from which they come. At times these characterizations are at the service of the God theme. Two central characters, a lavash and bagel, hate each other because they have to share the west aisle, an obvious reference to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Other times I found them problematic. Tequila was portrayed as a drunk and deceptive Mexican character and voiced by a white dude. The only black character in the movie was a weed smoking box of grits voiced by Craig Robinson.

Ultimately, the movie was fun and full of laughs. The animation was really well done. It wasn’t quite a Pixar masterpiece but it was beautifully executed. There were several scenes of exuberant food violence that highlight the endless possibilities for creativity in animation. One of my favorite things about this movie was seeing these comedians we know so well take on this totally different form. Remember how funny Robin Williams’s physical humor was when he was the Genie in Aladdin? Sausage Party gives us a taste of that with some of my favorite comedians working today.

Sausage Party: 4/5.

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