By: Kevin Jordan
Food for thought.
Several years back, I was at my in-laws’ house, it was late at night, and I was watching an episode of South Park. The boys were trying to avoid getting in trouble for hitting Butters in the eye with a ninja star. Halfway through, my father-in-law walked in, watched for a minute, looked at me incredulously and asked “what are you watching!?” I told him there would be a point, he just had to wait for it (and I didn’t know yet what it would be). He did not wait (and went to bed) and the point of the episode was that if sex is involved, nobody cares about violence. The point is that South Park may look and sound crass and juvenile, but there is often brilliant commentary embedded within. In other words, when you watch Sausage Party, don’t be the person who can’t see the forest for the trees.
That forest idiom is important here because some people get stubbornly stuck on things like cussing or nudity or dick jokes when reviewing movies and call them terrible movies for those things. These people should not watch Sausage Party because they won’t make it five minutes into the movie before running out of ink tallying up the number of times ‘fuck’ is uttered. These same people will ignore the fact that animated, talking food stuffs are doing the cussing. Meanwhile, those of us who don’t have constipation over naughty words will stare in wonder at a movie that looks like Pixar but sounds like Cinemax. Then, we will grin like maniacs when the movie becomes more than food wanting to fuck each other in the great beyond.
The premise of the film is that all of the food and products in a grocery store believe that when they are chosen by the gods (humans), they are going to heaven (outside the store). A sausage, Frank (Seth Rogen), and hot dog bun, Brenda (Kristen Wiig), want to get chosen so they can have sex. When a returned jar of mustard (Danny McBride) rants about how the great beyond is all a big lie and that the gods are actually monsters, he inadvertently prevents Frank and Brenda from leaving the store and getting busy. At that point, the movie becomes a quest – Frank and Brenda want to get back to their shelves for another chance to be chosen. Along the way, they are joined by a bagel (Ed Norton) and a lavash (David Krumholtz) and pursued by an evil douche (Nick Kroll) – yes, an actual douche – who blames them all for him being denied his destiny (it’s exactly the destiny you think). At this point in time, if you aren’t completely sold on the insanity of this movie, here’s where it gets good and where Trey Parker and Matt Stone would be proud.
On the surface, the film is a crass, profanity-laced comedy about horny food. Every food-sex pun you’ve ever thought of is probably in this film. Just like the forest and the trees, beneath the surface are hilarious commentaries on religious belief vs. science and the absurdity of the ongoing Israel vs. everyone else in the Middle East battle. The bagel – Jewish. The lavash – Muslim. Yes, every complaint these two sides have made will be addressed in this film. But for my money, the religion/science battle elevates this movie to greatness. It bites on the idea that there are people who refuse to bend even in the face of overwhelming factual evidence (currently, we call these people Trump supporters and climate change deniers), then bites back by pointing out that calling those people idiots is the absolute wrong way to try to change their minds. You may be right that they are idiots, but nobody ever changed an idiot’s mind by calling them an idiot, and not for lack of trying.
As you may have guessed already, I loved this movie. If nothing else, it’s an original movie, the kind that people keep yammering at Hollywood to make. But it’s so much better than that. Hopefully, all the people whose assholes pucker at the very mention of sex or potty words can get over themselves long enough to appreciate that Rogen and fellow writers Evan Goldberg and Jonah Hill (who also voices a sausage) have created a brilliant and funny movie that asks us all to step back and see the damned forest. And, like in sex (usually), there’s a massive payoff in the end – a giant food orgy. If you thought they hit every food-sex pun before this scene, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Rating: Don’t ask for any money back as it should leave a great taste in your mouth (what? I can’t do one pun?).