I struggle to think of a time when I’ve come away from a film feeling as unclean as I did when I watched Sausage Party this weekend. Seeing films I wasn’t supposed to when I was a kid (the likes of Scary Movie come to mind) had that ‘never before seen’ shock to it, while more recently seeing Oldboy shocked me with its use of twists. However, Sausage Party has reset my shock clock to zero. Unfortunately and somewhat surprisingly, Sausage Party has a lot going for it and may be the first to start a new argument in Hollywood, but yet it holds one scene in particular that’s going to steal the limelight. A scene that rekindled a lost belief that movies can still show me something that I have never seen before.
That scene in question comes right at the end of the film, at a point where the story is nicely wrapped up so already. Prior to that what you have is a tale centred around a anthropomorphic hot dog who discovers that life isn’t all peaches and cream when they’re chosen by the human Gods to leave their supermarket. Infact, life on the other side is…nonexistent, with the realisation that once they leave those doors they’re nothing more than food for our consumption.
From the off the humour hits a crude level with plenty of sex puns, frequent cursing, racial stereotypes and anything else you would expect from a film starring Seth Rogen and his stoner crew. To balance it out however they do throw in a few word play gags and some fitting visual humour, but it is often interlaced with the aforementioned off colour jokes. Despite covering all comedic bases they don’t always hit the right mark, and it actually took me a long time to get this madcap ride going. It does have its stand out moments (Meat Loaf as a meat loaf springs to mind) but in all it didn’t always work for me.
You may be surprised then that, as I would expect, you’ve already scrolled down and seen that I’ve given this film three and a half stars. That’s because Sausage Party brings a lot more to the table than you would think. The story and characters are cleverly used to bring up topics on religion and atheism, existential pondering and the search for truth and meaning in our lives. Some have argued that the film is a push on the Atheistic viewpoint, but I believe that more than anything it’s getting the discussion going. A discussion that has frankly been a long time coming.
However, as already mentioned, this interesting and very cleverly interlaced metaphor is outdone by comedy that could not be further from that of clever minds. Sausage Party has pushed the boat out on what animation can do, and it may be difficult to bring this one back to shore. For all it’s cleverness it balances it out with stupidity, and at this point I still struggle to know whether that’s a good or bad thing. For without the last 5 minutes of the film I would have been happy with a movie that personifies a popular and very current discussion, yet with it what I have is images burned into my retina that leave Sausage Party as the most shocking film I will see in 2016. For the life of me I don’t know which is better.