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The UnPopular Opinion: Sausage Party

04.05.2018

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

There are some movies that just look like they were made for me and my sense of humor. While I adore the works of Wes Anderson, sometimes I just want a stupid comedy with some heart. Back in the 90s, I felt that way about the films of the Farrelly Brothers and as I got older, I began to identify more and more with the brand of comedy coming from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The pair of filmmakers are right around the same age as me and their movies have evolved at the same pace. I have laughed along with Rogen and his circle of acting friends going all the way back to Freaks and Geeks and have enjoyed their productions through THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, KNOCKED UP, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, THIS IS THE END, THE INTERVIEW, and beyond. But, something has happened in the last few years that has forced me to reassess my relationship with Rogen and Company. I did not like THE DISASTER ARTIST and was not a huge fan of the NEIGHBORS films or much of their recent output. But, from the moment I saw the first trailer for SAUSAGE PARTY, I felt it was going fix all of that. 

A raunchy, animated film featuring the voices of Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Edward Norton, Kristen Wiig, and so many actors who should be voicing Pixar roles rather than something like this? I was all in. SAUSAGE PARTY looked childish, raunchy, disgusting, inappropriate, ridiculous and stupid. All of those words seemed to add up to a recipe for a brilliant spoof of modern animated films while doing something daring with the format. Instead, SAUSAGE PARTY is so dumb that it isn't even funny. Watching the poorly animated final product left me bored and without any desire to watch it again. The problem inherent with making a movie like SAUSAGE PARTY is that it needs to elevate itself above what it is mocking. This movie barely even comes close to doing that and instead feels like a bunch of buddies getting together, getting high, and recording their voices. Now, I know that approach is the same for all the movies I profess to have enjoyed made by this same troupe, SAUSAGE PARTY comes off as pure laziness and has zero creativity at it's core.

The UnPopular Opinion, Sausage Party, Animation, Sony, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig

My biggest problem may be the animation. Not to sound like a snob, but the work here is atrocious. SAUSAGE PARTY looks like it was animated in 1997 by someone who had never used a computer before. I get that most of the money needed to produce this went to paying the famous names who put asses in seats, but the bar is so high for animation these days that the character design and backgrounds need to look better than something that could have been achieved for a Playstation 2 back in the early 2000s. Animated by Vancouver based Nitrogen Studios, whose minimal credits primarily consist of 100 Thomas and Friends television episodes, SAUSAGE PARTY lacks the vibrancy and realism that has become the bedrock for films produced by Pixar, Dreamworks, Blue Sky and Laika. Those animation powerhouses don't always deliver the best films, but their animation more than makes up for any storytelling shortcomings. SAUSAGE PARTY begins as a one note gag of being a raunchy cartoon for grown-ups, but barely elevates itself beyond that point.

There is a charm to hearing Seth Rogen and his buddies make a film that would have entertained their teenage selves, but SAUSAGE PARTY isn't just a stupid and crass comedy. In many ways, the film tries to be a philosophical and societal allegory. Like the similarly themed TOY STORY and MONSTERS, INC, SAUSAGE PARTY condenses deep and complex topics like race, religion, and gender into an animated format. While Pixar has delved into some lofty territory with those aforementioned movies, SAUSAGE PARTY feels like a bunch of stoners trying to make a point that never quite gets there. After spending ninety minutes having a Middle Eastern and Jewish food item argue, the solution is to just make them fuck each other. Yeah, it is kind of funny at first, but then it just keeps going and going. I am all for comedy that stretches the discomfort factor to drive a joke home, but it just ends up becoming boring and repetitive when it is the only joke you have.

SAUSAGE PARTY's lasting hallmark is that orgy scene which pushes the boundaries of anything sexual put in a feature film before. And yet, for as shocking as it tries to be, the buzz surrounding the scene just killed it for me. Even taken as a YouTube sized clip, the orgy stops being funny after an initial viewing. It also masks the fact that there was so much potential in what Rogen and Goldberg created and it feels completely wasted. Beneath that shock value, they assembled a cast that would make any filmmaker's mouth water but the end result is incredibly banal. Say what you will about THE INTERVIEW or THIS IS THE END, but both films manage to address very prescient issues and topics while still having profanity and sexual humor without insulting the intelligence of the audience. SAUSAGE PARTY feels like it is overlong and poorly paced which is a shame for a movie that barely runs ninety minutes.

The problem may be the ambition of the film to be too many things at once. If they had elected to leave the story within the confines of the supermarket, it may have worked out. If they had decided to keep some characters out and save them for an inevitable sequel, that could have worked, too. SAUSAGE PARTY ends up feeling like everyone involved said fuck it and threw every single idea they had on screen and didn't bother to go back and edit anything out. The story makes little sense structurally and never works as more than a bunch of ideas rather than a cohesive narrative. Not one of the performers slacks in their over the top roles, but it often feels like they are just animated versions of themselves. Whereas THIS IS THE END made Jonah Hill and Michael Cera into twisted versions of their real life selves, SAUSAGE PARTY doesn't even bother doing that. This is just who Seth Rogen and David Krumholz would be if their were food rather than people.

The UnPopular Opinion, Sausage Party, Animation, Sony, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig

If SAUSAGE PARTY succeeded in anything, it was making a potential place for R-rated cartoons. Since SOUTH PARK: BIGGER LONGER AND UNCUT and maybe to a lesser extent THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, there have not been nearly enough mature themed films to take advantage of the medium of animation. At least from a studio perspective, animation is squarely the domain of family fare. SAUSAGE PARTY is definitely not for kids but in many ways it is not for adults either. This is a film that could have been something daring and unique for mature audiences but is instead a poorly animated and overlong sex joke that will have a teenage following for decades to come. That is if the teens can look past the awful CGI work that looks decades past what it should have looked like. SAUSAGE PARTY is the worst kind of food: bland, uninteresting, and unsatisfying.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to [email protected], spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
Source: JoBlo.com

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