Thank god for that Sausage Party.
That’s a phrase I never expected to type. Yet 2016 has been an odd year. In a summer full of disappointing sequels and just pure, pure garbage, the box office has been saved by animated films. Then there’s Sausage Party.
The best thing about Sausage Party is that it both meets and defies your expectations. I went into the movie expecting the typical Seth Rogen comedy tropes. You know, several dick jokes, a drug trip scene, and a plethora of well-crafted cursing, and James Franco. It did not disappoint.
It also had a serviceable plot and posed some deep questions. There’s the existential crisis our protagonist Frank the Sausage has after realizing he has no greater purpose. The middle eastern aisle’s conflict presented by Lavash the flatbread and Sammy the Bagel. The struggle that the disenfranchised non perishables have gone through (specifically Chief Firewater).
That’s the beauty of Sausage Party. Midway through, I found myself simultaneously cheering for our beloved sausage hero on his Pixar-esque quest for freedom while also watching a lesbian taco make sexual innuendos at a hot dog bun.
In the midst of PC culture and social media hot takes, Sausage Party seems like a throwback of sorts. It gets away with absurdity because it’s often times hilarious. Speaking of absurdity, there’s nothing in your life that can prepare you for grand finale food orgy. What starts as a hot dog and bun kissing takes a raucous left turn. It’s like the Anchorman brawl mixed with the orgy scene from Zoolander. The best comedy always stems from the moments that come out of nowhere.
That’s where Sausage Party thrives. Just as you settle in like a child watching Inside Out, they throw you a curve ball. There’s the food massacre we’ve come to love in the trailer. The grocery store spillage that plays like the Normandy scene in Saving Private Ryan. You’re distracted just enough before they finally drop the hammer.
There’s a very strong argument to be made that Seth Rogen movies are the new gold standard for comedies. Think about it. His heavy hitters include Knocked Up, Superbad, and Pineapple Express. That’s like Adam Sandler’s peak 90’s era trilogy of Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and Big Daddy. Over the past decade, he’s consistently released hits that do their job of getting people to the theater and making them laugh. Again, there’s no denying that the humor can be sophomoric (there’s dick jokes a plenty). However, Rogen’s movies are reliably hilarious and have enough heart and smarts to be admired by critics. Modern day Sandler? Not so much.
Sausage Party is the summer movie we all needed. A movie that was clearly concocted after a weed-infused fever dream somehow became the must see comedy of the summer. It’s a meaningful distraction from the overall awfulness of 2016. Where movies like Ghostbusters and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates failed to enter the pop culture zeitgeist, Sausage Party thrived by using an anthropomorphic douche and racist sauerkraut.
So yes, go see Sausage Party. Until proven otherwise, Seth Rogen movies are going to be worth the price of admission. Just know what you’re signing up for. In this case, talking food injecting people with bath salts and going into a murderous rage. Take my money, please.