So it turns out that Hollywood has been having a disappointing summer season, with most of its tentpole movies collapsing under the weight of its own hype and oversized budget. I wonder if this is due to the intense Olympics coverage that have dominated most of our attention. Or maybe it’s due to an uninspiring lineup of movies these past few months. Were any of us excited by Ben Hur, the Angry Birds Movie, or the BFG? Even the most anticipated movies such as Batman vs Superman, Justice League, and Warcraft disappointed many fans in many ways. You can put it down to a million different reasons, but the final line to be said about them is that they were uninteresting. People talk about the large onslaught of superhero movies we’ve been experiencing and refer to superhero fatigue all the time, but I think there’s a larger blockbuster fatigue occurring. We’re not as excited for the big budget, big CGI action movies. We’re looking for something more to talk about (says the guy who’ll be lining up to watch Dr Strange and Star Wars: Rogue One when it comes out).
Along comes Sausage Party, the kind of movie that you would design with a bunch of your friends when you’re completely wasted, probably at the end of the party when you’re all staring at the pizza boxes and finger food you’ve devoured. Imagine a world where food can talk – hilarious isn’t it? Until you realise what a world it’ll be for the food, because we’ll constantly be mutilating and devouring them. The movie follows a group of sausages, buns, and various carb-rich food products as they get taken to the ‘Great Beyond’ – which is what the food items refer to the outside of the shop as when they get bought by humans (known as Gods in this movie). Intertwined in this interesting premise is the rather uninteresting love story between Frank, a sausage (get it?) and Brenda, a sausage bun as they long to finally do it and slip into each other. That means exactly what you think it means.
Also there’s a giant food orgy. That’s all I can really say about that.
But in the end, for such a dumb premise with dumb animation and dumb jokes, the movie actually touches on a lot of pretty big issues. The idea of Gods and how we take whatever we’re told about them to be true without any proof is criticised by Frank. Also, a little bit of social theory gets thrown in: the belief by all the foods that the humans are there to bring them to heaven was told as propaganda so that they’ll be happy for a moment before being thrown into boiling water or diced into oblivion. The movie also addresses the Israel-Palestine conflict with a hilarious analogy between Middle Eastern and Jewish products cohabiting the same product aisle and constantly fighting over artificially drawn lines – cuts a bit close to home, doesn’t it? And though not addressed directly, an existential question arises when I watched it – if food is sentient, and they do not want to be eaten, what is their purpose? For isn’t that the only reason why they exist? Is my existence as meaningless as an uneaten carrot, or an unopened bottle of cider? Why must a R rating movie made by Seth Rogen and Co. do this to my psyche?
Did I mention about the giant food orgy?
Being a comedy movie, I did not laugh as often as I hoped to. The movie started and ended well, but in the middle it felt like the story got lost in its own boring love story between Frank and Brenda, seemingly to forget its original, clever premise. The movie would have been much better if it stayed as a horror movie from food’s point of view, rather than the love ingredient to the whole recipe.
But really, who cares? This is vintage Seth Rogen and crew. It’s funny, passes the time, and much more original than the other 101 summer movies currently paraded around. It’s the kind of movie that feels genuine because it doesn’t attempt to be glorious, dramatic, or impart an important message. It just aims to be the good old popcorn eating, bottle drinking, or bong-inhaling summer flick. And they somehow got Edward Norton involved in this whole thing too, which is always an amazing feat. I recommend this movie to anyone who just wants to past the time with some (but not too many) laughs, explore the strange world of food politics and society, and always wondered how food would have sex, if they could.