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‘Sausage Party’ is overcooked, overhyped, and overrated

By Emma Kahn

Section: Arts

September 2, 2016

With only a precious few days of summer remaining and little left to look forward to, “Sausage Party” opened in theaters, raising my hopes and dashing them beautifully. While reviews I’ve heard by word-of-mouth as well as the 83 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes suggest the film was a success, I was left cringing at its cliché and second-rate humor and wondering if my credit card company might void the recent transaction of the ticket purchase. If I had to sum up “Sausage Party” in a short phrase? Over-hyped.

 

Don’t get me wrong—I knew what I was getting myself into. This is not the scathing review of an overly sensitive or misled viewer. “Knocked Up,” “The Interview” and even “Neighbors” are all movies I would recommend, and I was ready for some Seth Rogen-style humor. Even better, I figured its pioneering of the genre of adult animated movies would further amplify the absurdity of its comedic value. Not only is “Sausage Party” highly promising as a Seth Rogen film and a new style of animated movie, but it boasts other amazing talents—Edward Norton, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, James Franco, Craig Robinson and Paul Rudd, to name a few. After seeing the trailer, I settled myself into that theater chair ready for the kind of movie that has you simultaneously jaw-dropped in shock and shaking from laughter, hands covering your mouth in awe of what you’ve found yourself laughing at. However, the reviews, the trailer, the cast and the popular anticipation all built me up for huge disappointment.

 

I expected “Sausage Party” to be horribly offensive and distasteful—its comedic value was supposed to rest on that. With this kind of humor, it is imperative that you go big or go home. But almost the entirety of the movie’s shock value comes from stale and overused stereotypes—a lavash and bagel are the bickering Israeli-Palestinian duo, a bottle of firewater is the wise old Native American non-perishable, the taco is, of course, Mexican and the surly box of grits, voiced by the only black actor on cast, expresses his hatred for a box of crackers. One of the villains is a literal and figurative douche.

 

Offensiveness and political correctness aside, these cheap blows have all been done before, and none of them catch you off-guard or are presented with any sort of new spin. I may have forgiven the cliché characters and the racial and ethnic jokes if they take the movie somewhere, but they end up irrelevant to the overarching plot.

 

On top of these dull and overdone one-liners and stereotypes of characters, the plot circles around a social commentary that isn’t at all new or surprising. The foods in the grocery store worship customers as “gods” and realize by the end of the film that they are actually murderers, eating all the food and killing them in horrible and gruesome ways—peeling and boiling potatoes, crunching baby carrots, slicing sausages, etc. The foods’ new ideas regarding “gods” and the meaning of life are explicitly discussed and are reduced to a sort of final conclusion of anarchy. There is no inspiring message, nor is there some sort of realization at the end—instead, you are left with an irritatingly simple social commentary that is neither funny nor illuminating; it is just there. I didn’t expect “Sausage Party” to address any serious topics, and I’m still not sure why it did. It should’ve really said something about people or society or culture, or said nothing about it at all. Instead there is some ambiguous moral that is confusing and useless.
With so few successful one-liners, unoriginal characters and a dispensable overall plot, there was nothing to hold my attention and the whole movie flopped. As far as I’m concerned, Columbia Pictures owes me retribution for the 80-something minutes of cringe-worthy moments and the second-hand embarrassment I feel for its outstanding cast members. The only redeeming part of “Sausage Party” is its headway into a new and promising genre, the R-rated animated comedy film. There is certainly something to be said for this one novelty. I only hope that future movies of this genre can compensate for the disappointment that was its founding feature.

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