PG-13 for some language and really weird content.
You don’t really walk into a Seth Rogen movie with high expectations. That’d be sort of like stopping at an Exxon gas station in Waco, and expecting a well-dressed attendant in a red vest and black slacks to hand you a warm, freshly cleaned towel after you used the facilities. No, when you go see a Seth Rogen film (some of the past including Pineapple Express, Superbad, and the Interview) you have to brace yourself before you walk in.
“Alright,” you have to say to yourself, “this probably won’t be the best movie, but it’ll have a decent plot, relatable characters, and a lot of laughs.” You probably also have to promise to go to confession afterwards to repent for all the “F bombs” which your ears will inhale over the next couple hours. Seth Rogen doesn’t make great movies. He makes funny, decent movies that 20-something year-olds will enjoy, and that’s it.
Even with these expectations, as I walked out of the movie theater a couple weeks ago after viewing the abomination which is “Sausage Party,” I found myself disappointed in so many ways. In the ensuing time, I’ve talked to many like-minded people who share similar thoughts on the movies, so I thought it might be beneficial for everyone (everyone who reads my writings, at the very least) if I compiled some of the opinions and ideas formed from the movie, and added a few of my own.
Although Seth Rogen’s movies (referring, for the rest of this article, to the movies he has starred in, directed, produced, or written) have always been edgy, there is a clear trend in recent years that he is beginning to rely more and more on shock, especially to make people laugh. Many directors, writers, musicians, and other professions have used shock in their medium to do great things. Since this is an article about a movie, I’ll stick with movies, although it would be quite easy to show how well the entity known as Eminem employs shock in his lyrics. One director who (at least partially) succeeds in his use of “shock” is Quentin Tarantino, director of Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, and the Kill Bill movies among others.
Tarantino’s style is rife with shock, mostly relying on gratuitous deaths (often completely out of the blue) and language that would have resulted in a bar of soap in my mouth, had I even used a substitute for the swears as a child. I’ve written in the past about Tarantino’s overuse of “fuck” specifically, but outside of that, I think Tarantino manages to punctuate his movies with the right amount of shock, keeping the viewer on the edge of their seats, as well as reminding them that life isn’t as predictable or nice as many movies would have you think.
Sausage Party opens up on a few dozen shelves in your average supermarket, complete with food talking to other food. The main difference between this scene and one similar to it in a children’s movie is the amount of swearing exchanged by the cute little animated characters. At this point in the movie (30 seconds in) the shock of animated hot dogs using coarse language is a little bit humorous. Everyone in the theater is kind of looking around chuckling, slightly amused by something so far out of the ordinary. 45 minutes later, after the same sexual innuendos, the same amount of swears and racism, and the weird food-based violence, it’s a lot less funny. An hour and fifteen minutes in, I was done. I’d seen a decapitated head, a “douche” (both literally, and in all of his mannerisms) kill and suck dry a variety of other foods, and the humor was just boring. The shock factor was gone, and without it, there wasn’t any humor.
I think Rogen realized that the “humor” in his movie was directly caused by the shock factor, so for the very last scene of the movie, he decided to have a food orgy. Yeah, just a bunch of food having sex. Yep, you’re right, that doesn’t make any sense, and yes, it is so much worse than you can imagine. I’m not sure how long it actually lasted, but it felt like seven or eight minutes, and by the time it was over, I was literally sick to my stomach. What was Rogen thinking? It wasn’t funny, and I’m fairly certain I’d know. I have a darker sense of humor than most, and I pride myself on being able to appreciate most forms of humor. The problem with Sausage Party, was that there was only shock disguised as humor.
When you go to see a movie like Sausage Party, you already expect a “bad movie.” It’s gonna have that classic “dumb humor” you expect after viewing the commercials, but you shouldn’t expect too much more than that. The characters won’t be very developed, and the plot will typically be overused and underdeveloped. Unfortunately for Sausage Parry, it had no real redeeming qualities. The plot was barely existent and was just a basic “Hero gets the girl” plot with no real surprises. After the first five minutes, it was easy enough to guess how everything would turn out. The bits of plot that were present were really, really stupid. For example, at one point, the food in the grocery store starts a fight with the humans by shooting them all full of bath salts. It turns out that while humans are on bath salts, they can see the animated food. A huge battle then ensues between the food and the people, ending with most of the humans held captive in the freezer section. In addition to the horridly dry plot, the characters themselves all felt a little stale (ayyyy) and mostly consisted of stereotypes. A Jewish bagel and a Muslim Lavash banter about how unfairly their aisle was split, in a poorly veiled parallel of the tensions between Israel and Palestine, while a bottle of liquor is given a Native American accent and the headgear to go with it. No humor, no plot, and no characters will make for a bad movie, right? I’m not done yet.
The main plot of Sausage Party is this: All food is happy, knowing that one day they will go to “The Great Beyond,” a wonderful place where humans shelter food until the end of time, and everything is lovely. There is a debate about whether “The Great Beyond” actually exists, and when it turns out that it doesn’t the food rebels against the humans in an effort to make their own world. While I seriously doubt Rogen or any of the other writers have read Nietzsche, the movie resembles some of his ideas on man vs. God. In addition to that, it’s blatantly obvious that the whole movie is a critique of Christianity, or even religion in general, making fun of those who believe in the afterlife. Would you like to guess what philosophical arguments Sausage Party brings about to disprove heaven, or cast doubt on it? The answer is none, as the movie prefers to just say “Your beliefs are stupid” and offer absolutely no evidence backing up their hypothesis. That doesn’t work in the scientific world, and it shouldn’t work for a movie. Mike Wazowski said it best in Monster’s INC.: “If you’re going to insult me, do it properly.” If someone in Hollywood wants to write a scathing article on Christianity and why it’s dumb, then they have the right to do that, but if you’re going to insult me, please do it well.
Sausage Party has nothing of value in it. The plot and characters are two-dimensional, and far too predictable. Their is no humor, just shock masquerading as humor, which grows repetitive, boring, and finally disgusting. Lastly, what is supposed to serve as a sort of satire of religion fails, providing absolutely no compelling arguments for why one shouldn’t believe in Heaven. You don’t walk into a Seth Rogen film with high expectations, but after Sausage Party, I wouldn’t recommend walking into any Seth Rogen films.