Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sausage Party

1.5/4

Starring (voices): Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Nick Kroll, David Krumholz, Edward Norton

Rated R for Strong Crude Sexual Content, Pervasive Language, and Drug Use

I don't think it is against the ethical code of a film critic to admit, or even feel, that was not excited to see this movie.  I posted on Facebook that I felt like I was walking down death row to my execution.  Having still not quite recovered from the trauma of witnessing "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising," I think that feeling this way, especially if I admit it, is fair.

The good news is that "Sausage Party" isn't as bad as "Neighbors 2."  The bad news is that I'm comparing it to one of the worst, most self-indulgent "movies" (I won't devalue the form by calling it as such) ever made, that's not necessarily a compliment.  "Sausage Party" is more dull and pointless than "bad."  It's too lazy to be as unwatchable as this year's sole 0/4 movie.

Frank (Rogen) is a hot dog waiting for the day when he and the fellow hot dogs are chosen by human shoppers to be taken to the Great Beyond.  There, he can be with his girlfriend, hot dog bun Brenda (Wiig) without cellophane coming between them.  However, the day they get selected a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) who has seen the Great Beyond, but was returned when the customer decided he bought the wrong kind of mustard.  He claims it's all a lie and that the humans are going to eat them.  Rather than go back to the humans, he commits suicide, which causes a pile up, and Frank, Brenda, and a few others are left to wander around the store.

What makes this movie fail is the laziness of the humor.  Seth Rogen and his screenwriters think that the idea of a bunch of foods that swear excessively and trade immature sex jokes is funny.  They think that they can get away with R-rated sitcom jokes that would amuse pre-pubescent boys if they're said by a tomato.  Or that the idea of a lesbian taco shell voiced by Salma Hayek is funny enough in its own right that she doesn't need anything funny to say.  Or talking used condom.  These are moderately clever ideas, but nothing is done with them.  There's no turn or wit to any of the jokes.

The acting?  What can I say about the acting?  It's just another movie where Seth Rogen gathers a bunch of his friends and they try to fit in as many sex jokes and foul words as a 90 minute time frame will allow.  I don't know about you, but that's not my idea of entertainment.  The one consolation about this is that, either due to the effort needed in creating an animated movie or directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon have the good sense to tell Rogen to shut his trap after each line, there's no sense that he's shooting his mouth off and riffing excessively on the same joke.  Such are the small joys of watching this brain-dead movie.

I have the distinct impression that I come across as one of those snooty, elitist critics that only likes those dense, abstract and artistic movies and don't like "stupid humor."  That is not the case.  I like stupid humor, when it's well written and clever.  Stupid characters and immature sex jokes are fine, even enjoyable.  But they must be written and acted with cleverness.  If you understand why a fantasy sequence about Kumar living with a giant bag of weed as his wife (like in "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle") is funny but a bottle of whiskey smoking pot out of a kazoo is lame after the first time, you know what I'm talking about.

Note:  This animated movie is rated R.  It's not the first, since "Fritz the Cat" got an X rating and its sequel got an R, as did Rob Zombie's direct-to-DVD animated film "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto."  I wouldn't say I'm complaining, but you have in this film food items doing things like lesbian fellatio, S&M, and other sorts of graphic sex acts that, if were done with human actors, would get an NC-17 for sure.  Apparently, the MPAA was totally at a loss for what to do with this film.  At the same time, they gave "Team America World Police" an NC-17 for going a little farther.  Just saying.

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