Sausage Party (2016)
Not the first film that I thought I would be reviewing, however my mind was still thinking even as my sides were awkwardly splitting last night. Sausage Party (2016). Admittedly this is not the best film I have seen in terms of substance, it’s an adult comedy animation that is throwing punches at everyone, I’ve not seen a film this offensive since Team America: World Police (2004) which again had me in stitches. However if you look beyond the surface, the profanity, the lewd content there is a loose message that you’d never think to find in a Seth Rogen film.
OK so what is it that made me sit up and think between the laughs, we have a faith-based film, well lack of really as we are spend the duration of the film in a supermarket from the foods perspective, think Toy Story (1995) but with less self-awareness of purpose. The food believe they are waiting to be chosen by the gods (us) to go home, not sure what else would happen when you get out, no one is until a jar of Honey Mustard’s (Danny McBride) returned to the supermarket, bring with him the horrors of the gods. Its like coming back from the dead and discovering there’s no heaven, only a hell, or even nothing. Your whole belief systems shattered and no-one around you believes you or wants to. Of course the audience knows exactly what is going on, but we can’t say a word, only having the prior knowledge as Gods as to what is going to happen. I’m reminded of an episode if Star Trek Voyager when one of the character’s Neelix is revived, coming back to understand that his belief system is baseless, finding no afterlife to look forward to. He struggles for the rest of the episode learning to deal with that fact.
That’s all before a pack of hot dogs and buns are bought to help celebrate Independence Day to be chosen on that day means a lot for one pack of each Frank a sausage (Seth Rogen) and his bun girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig) who believe can’t wait to finally sleep together, which takes little imagination. They are both chosen but circumstances see them being left behind at the supermarket. Sounds a bit like the claw in Toy Story for the aliens in the Pizza Planet vending machine believing that the claw is a god to them, choosing one of them (if operated correctly) to be taken somewhere, again the belief systems flawed, being left open to interpretation.
I’m finding a few cultural references here, however I’ve never seen a film deal head-on with the issues of atheism, from a country based on religion and it’s freedoms. We get to see what happens to the (luckier) that’s brought home, where reality and ultimately death awaits them all. Visually its painfully hilarious as we see their reaction to what is ultimately there to serve us, well our appetite and sustenance. Out in the real world we are left with only an underdeveloped sausage Barry (Michael Cera), no guessing what that’s supposed to be to try and make his way back to the supermarket.
Most of the times spent in the supermarket where Frank and Brenda are joined by a Jewish donut Sammy (Edward Norton doing his best Woody Allen impression) and a lavash (David Krumholtz), mirroring the West Bank politics. Every nationality gets a ripped into, playing up stereotypes, making Family Guy look tame in comparison to this which really is saying If I make fun of them I have to make fun of you too, which is fair play. No real harm done as its equal, it’s an adult frat comedy so you get what you pay for, it’s not supposed to be politically correct or sensitive or we’d have a completely different film that doesn’t go to the extremes that we have here.
I’m reminded again of Toy Story when Barry finds himself in the home of a drug (James Franco) user of bath salts that temporarily changes his reality to be on the same of that as the food who we see in the home as either half eaten or ready to be. Taking me back to when Woody (Tom Hanks) confronted Sid bridging the gap between toy and human. Of course that was to scare the hell out him, the Toys are already self-aware and have to pay the role of the toy in the kids presence. There is no belief system (except for Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) who believes he is what he’s been manufactured as) at play, they co-exist in their own secret world.
So there’s more to this adult film than meets the eye, of course one reading is revenge of the food, the realisation of their purpose. In the world of Toy Story they have already come to terms with that reality. The belief system we learn was put in place by the Non-perishable products, a method of pacifying the food, keeping them calm make the supermarket a nice place to be. As some atheists see religion as mass control, which is fair comment if you read into the hierarchy of organised religion. Ultimately that is a belief, we can choose to believe in a supreme being, or not, either way can make your life better. We just have to all learn to respect each others belief system.