Sausage Party

August 14, 2016 at 10:16 am | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment
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I should have known. I mean, Seth Rogan has not exactly been coy about his sense of humor. I have seen “This is the End,” which he and Evan Goldberg also wrote and which stars most of the same folks. I wasn’t totally naive; I knew the film would be crude and full of innuendo. However, I was just not prepared to spend 89 minutes in a middle school boys’ locker room. Within 5 minutes of the film starting, I was wondering if I should just get up and leave (had I known that the two people I was with were thinking the same thing, I might not be struggling with this review right now). What I was not prepared for initially was the barrage of profanity that was so gratuitous that I felt like I could almost hear the little boys giggle at all the bad words they were getting away with. Perhaps that let up a bit over the course of the film or, perhaps, I just became inured to it. But, fear not, Rogan et al know plenty of other ways to be crass and shocking. The story takes place mostly in a grocery store and focuses on the relationship between a hot dog named Frank (Rogan) and a bun named Brenda (Kristen Wiig), so you can imagine all of the crude humor that can arise from a male hot dog and female bun. Actually, you can’t. It’s ridiculous how much they milk that joke, and every sexual joke they can think of. Have you ever wanted to see a teenage boy masturbating a hot dog sticking out of his pants? Well, lucky you! You’ll get to see it here. The saddest thing is that there is the semblance of a deeper story. Rogan and Goldberg are trying to explore issues of diversity, intolerance and faith. Humor can be a powerful and effective way to explore these deeply sensitive issues. I don’t mind that they were willing to take jabs at such charged topics as Arab-Jewish relations, sexuality & gender in Mexican culture, American race relations or belief in God. But it was done in such a juvenile way that I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the results. There is little room for insight if you only get as deep as a well-meaning 7th grader. I am not saying that the film wasn’t sometimes funny. It was. But only occasionally. The rest of the time I sat in silent uncertainty about where this film was going and if it could redeem itself. It couldn’t. That is unless you call a 3-minute long, fully graphic, animated orgy a redemption of sorts. Apparently, they had to tone it down to get the “R” rating. Given what I saw, it boggles the mind to think what ended up on the cutting room floor. But, I should note that the audience I was with loved it. With the exception of the couple who walked out during the orgy scene, they all seemed to be laughing and clapping throughout. And it has generally been reviewed well. And Rogan managed to get quite a group of actors to provide their voices, beyond just the standard cavalcade of adolescents he normally works with. So, plenty of people see the value of a film like this. Just not me. But, as I said, I really should have known.

 

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