Monday, May 15, 2017

Looking At Movies (SPECIAL EDITION) - Sausage Party (2016)

Animated movies do not always need to be kids' movies. As evidence, I present to you both versions of the movie Heavy Metal. But if you are not going to make an animated movie for kids, then you need to be really clever. The truth is that animated movies are written for adults and animated for children, but when the writing goes strongly to the adult side, there better be something there for people to enjoy. In Sausage Party, Seth Rogen proves that he can take even the most clever comedy premise and ruin it with his inability to write quality scripts.

Why am I doing a special edition review of this movie? I am doing this because I believe that Sausage Party shows exactly why Seth Rogen deserves his reputation of being a comedic genius stuck forever in the mind of a 12-year-old. Most of the premises of Seth Rogen films are actually clever, but his infatuation with penis jokes, poop jokes, and inappropriate sexual activity constantly ruin any chance his premises have of being effective. Sausage Party is the first Rogen movie I have seen where the premise almost shines through, but then gets drowned in the garbage that is Seth Rogen writing.

When I announced on my Facebook page that I was writing this review, I was told by several adults not to waste my time and that they walked out on the movie 10 minutes into it. While I appreciated the input, I found that there was too much substance in Sausage Party to stop watching it. I kept saying that there would be a payoff to sitting through the movie, and I was right. But, once again, Rogen drowns that payoff in garbage and ruins it completely.

Dropping f-bombs in comedy has always been a touchy subject for me. Don't think I am a prude because my friends will tell you that I drop f-bombs like a drunken sailor. But when you write a movie, you are going for a certain effect and the dialogue you choose has to fit that effect. All of the f-bombs dropped in Scarface make sense because of the context, all of the f-bombs dropped in Sausage Party are completely unnecessary and only serve to drive the audience away. 

Comedy is a delicate art, and the spoken word is the foundation that art is built on. Good comedy makes clever use of dialogue and each movie creates its own world using a variety of audible cues. But with Rogen, he thinks that constantly dropping f-bombs and issuing obscenity-laced insults throughout the movie is good comedy. That may work with the grade school kids, but it still doesn't fly in the adult world. One of the big problems with using profanity constantly is that all of your characters start to sound the same, and that ruins any chance you would have of building jokes based on the individuality of your characters.

The premise of this movie is that food is capable of conscious thought and the food elders (non-perishables) worked out a way to make all of the food anxious to get chosen and go out among the "gods" (humans). The way the movie sets all of this up is extremely clever, and the deliberate attention to detail given to a shopping cart collision scene shows that Rogen understands that this movie needs subtle but powerful images to be funny. But he never follows through on that, and ruins his movie.

Among the penis and poop jokes is an extremely unnecessary orgy scene that shows food being all too human. The only reason Rogen put the scene in the movie was his inner 12-year-old's need to giggle at something that would be considered really dirty. The scene doesn't work, and anyone who made it that far in the movie probably stopped caring how it would end.

I am not a Seth Rogen fan at all, but I could always see the genius under his 12-year-old persona. Seth Rogen could be much more successful if he would hire writers to get his ideas out and agree to pull wayyyyyyy back on the f-bombs and lame sex jokes. But as long as he insists on writing movies himself, Rogen will always be seen as a childish comedian who has no appreciation or understanding for the finer points of comedy.

Rating: 1 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic who misses real comedy. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at