Tuesday, September 12, 2017

20/20: #17 Sausage Party

[Like the "10 for 10" series but a little longer.  It's my endeavor to clean the backlog slate (with some things watched well over a year ago now) "this" month with 20 reviews written in 20 minutes (each) over 20 days...hee hee...
...almost there!]
Suggestive wiener

2016, d. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon -  The Movie Network

My appreciation for the output of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg has been pretty vast [note to self: fill in links to Rogen-Goldberg productions below], even their lesser efforts are still like A-level Kevin Smith films (you know, instead of the typical B- or C-level Kevin Smith film).  There's a crassness to any Rogen-Goldberg screenplay, but also some genuinely original wit, an idea to explore, a stance on that idea, and some solid execution.

I resisted seeing the hard R-rated Sausage Party in the theatre mainly because the trailers made it out to be strung-together sequences of cheap innuendo and even cheaper visual gags starring anthropomorphic, foul-mouthed food.  Not really my thing.

Yet, after seeing the thing (on an app on my phone, you know, the way movies are supposed to be watched), I can't help but be somewhat impressed, even if, for the most part, I found the film's humour cheap, crass, and obvious.  What impressed me so much was the lingering feeling that I had afterward, that if you took out all the sexual innuendo, all the swearing, and the big orgy scene, you have at its heart a Pixar movie (at one time, pre Cars 3 or The Good Dinosaur, comparing an animated film to a Pixar effort was high praise, and it still is, but it just means a little less now).

add legs+pull out focus = less suggestive
Sausage Party's core story is about belief, and the nature of belief.  In this world, food in the grocery store has created a mythology about the great beyond, the world outside of the store.  It's their heaven.  Of course, there's division amidst the food aisles about what exactly is there in the great beyond, but the core belief in something greater exists.  But when a food item is returned, he details the horrors he witnessed, the gnashing, masticating horrors of the outside world.  Frank (a wiener) takes it upon himself to try and educate the masses as to what awaits them, but ultimately the truth falls upon the deaf ears of the food already committed to their beliefs in spite of any evidence.

There's other stuff too, like Franks love for Brenda (a hot dog bun) and the accidental creation of a juiced-up adversary, the Douche (the second time Nick Kroll has played a character with that name, see also Parks and Recreation), but that nature of faith, of belief is an unexpected and fairly strong underpinning for a stupid dick-joke movie.

I enjoyed the film's playful sense of logic, how it negotiates the world of food and the meta world food inhabits.  It would be insane if all our food had emotions and feelings and thoughts and wants and desires like it does here...I mean, this could have easily been a vegan/vegetarian screed but it almost advocates that eating any food is murder.  There's shades of Toy Story for sure, while one sequence emulates the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan amusingly.  It's not going to be for everyone...hell, it's not really even for me, and yet I'm glad I saw it.

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