By Dustin Cabeal
As a stay at home dad, watching movies has become a luxury to me. The simple fact is that 2016 saw the least amount of movies I’ve watched in a year. That blew my mind until I went through a list of all the releases and saw the amount of utter garbage that was released. Recently though I saw a couple of CG movies that I had wanted to see and Sausage Party was on the top of that list.
There is one unfortunate thing about Sausage Party. It’s not a mature CG film. It’s just an adult CG film. Marketing tends to blur the line between those two things because they are different and should be acknowledged as such. You see, mature means a story that takes maturity to understand. It’s not necessarily a movie you’d let a child see because they don’t have the life context to see past the visual context. Adult just means you need to be of a certain age to see the film which is weird since this movie is clearly geared towards teens.
To give a comic example; comic legend Rob Liefeld said he was doing a mature comic in the form of Bloodstrike. He felt compelled to do this after reading The Walking Dead. Now, I’m by no means a Walking Dead fan, but tell me the scene in which Rick had his penis stolen and put in a mason jar as a trophy? Yeah, Walking Dead is mature. It handles themes that are mature, and it does so with violence, and that’s what makes it mature. Dicks in jars is adult. That’s the difference.
Sausage Party is in love with swearing, sex, and drugs. Sure, there’s a lot of entry level philosophy thoughts in there, but nothing deeper than a syllabus from a college course. The beginning of the movie had so much swearing that I lost words. All I could hear was “shit” and “fuck, ” and I say this as someone that swears way too much… it was overkill. While yes, people do talk like that, the reason it doesn’t work in stories/entertainment is that it drowns out everything else. Good storytelling should never be overpowered by cursing.
To make another comic reference it reminds me of when Grant Morrison left DC and released Happy! at Image Comics and you could tell that he just wanted to be able to swear, and swear he did. The first two issues were filled with it, and then the story settled down, and he stopped drowning his dialogue in the f-word. Same thing here. The story does finally tone down the cursing, but it comes at a cost.
The cost is that it then increases the racial stereotypes and sex references. I’m not a prude, but I do worry when a story is so focused on sex that it can’t present anything else in the story. The movie ends with a food orgy in case you were wondering, and I imagine that it was funny to the creators. Sitting around, probably high, thinking about food being alive and then fucking. I can see how it seemed funny at the time of creation, but in execution, it was boring and kind of pathetic.
If you’re going to make fun of racial stereotypes, first of all, don’t hide behind food. Second, don’t reinforce the stereotype at the end because then that just makes it racist. Maybe I’m reading into that too much as a straight white male, but I didn’t laugh at any of the paint on racist jokes that filled the gaps between the sex and the swearing.
The movie would like to pretend that it deals with religion, the meaning of life, and I suppose sex and drugs while having a premise of food thinking we’re picking it for a better life rather than murdering it with our mouths. It falls short of this goal because it never manages to go deeper than a few fleeting thoughts on any one subject.
I hear they want to get included in the Oscar race and if it were a real mature animation like last year’s Anomalisa (that had sex and swearing, but did it in a mature way), then I’d be all for it. It’s not. It’s a high school joke and while I commend them for getting it made, I wouldn’t want to see the sequel they set up at the end nor would I want to ever watch this film again.
Run Time: 1:29 min