Hot Take: Racist, stereotypical jokes aren’t edgy. They’re lazy.
I’ve mentioned previously how comedy is personal and laughter is contagious. For me, Sausage Party was one of those films that beats the drum of comedy being personal but flies in the face of laughter being contagious. As the film reached its raunchy, ridiculous climax and the audience I was seeing the movie with was doubled over in laughter, I realized I may not have laughed out loud once during the entire showing.
It’s not like I’m incapable of laughter. Earlier this year, I saw The Bronze three times and laughed out loud every time. I’m the first to admit The Bronze isn’t a great film but there was something about it that struck me funny. I also mention The Bronze because it is one of the crudest, raunchiest films in recent memory.
It’s not like I don’t find Seth Rogen funny. I still consider 2013’s This Is The End to be the best movie I saw from that year. That movie featured many of the same players who provide their vocal talents to Sausage Party.
Unfortunately, Sausage Party didn’t “do it” for me. Maybe it was the way it started. There’s a fine line in comedy when crude and vulgar language is involved. It’s an art form. George Carlin was one of the funniest comedians I’ve ever heard. He was probably one of the most foul-mouthed comedians. However, when you think of Carlin, you don’t really think of all the cursing. That’s the first thing I think of when I reflect back on Sausage Party. I never really wondered why food in a supermarket talked so much. I did wonder why every other word out of their edible mouths had four letters.
The jokes peppered throughout Sausage Party also didn’t vibe as anything overly intelligent. Some of the parallels the film made between reality and this food fantasy world had some brains behind it but choosing to have Sauerkraut want to exterminate Juice (Get it? Sauerkraut is German!) isn’t smart or even timely. Much of the humor was racist and stereotypical. And that wasn’t even the biggest problem. Some of the material was recycled. There’s a moment in the film where Mr. Grits — voiced by Craig Robinson — goes off about the Crackers taking over the supermarket. Mr. Grits’ tired about “Cracka ass, crackers!” isn’t original though. It’s from Chris Rock’s Bigger and Blacker stand-up in 1999. Rock’s stand-up delivers huge laughs, though. The difference? Rock’s joke has a setup. The joke in Sausage Party is basically just the punch line.
Essentially, Sausage Party is just that, a series of punch lines. There’s very little set-up. We know the jokes. They’ve been ingrained in us since we were young. Now, they’re animated and foul-mouthed and as raunchy as can be. I guess that’s funny for some people. The audience I saw it with howled. Leaving, I overheard comments about how brilliant the comedy was and how smart it was to have a douche be, well, a douche. I don’t know if I can concur. It’s obvious. There’s a lot of obvious humor in Sausage Party.
The only thing shocking might be the end. However, due to how far this film is willing to push the envelope early on, even the climax’s edge is a little dulled. Then again, it will give new meaning to the word “food porn” the next time you hear someone use it.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Everyone’s A Target
The film makes sure to take shots at everyone it can. The biggest target would probably be the religious who get whacked upside the head here as the film attacks theology head on. For food, the supermarket shoppers are the Gods and the automatic door leading out of the supermarket is Heaven. Get it?
- Pixar Parody
If it weren’t for the foul mouths and the nature of the humor, this film has a lot of elements of a Pixar film. Unfortunately, finding the parallels requires digging through the swearing and juvenile jokes about sliding meat into a bun.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Racist, Sexist, Stereotypical and Juvenile
Already mentioned once, it’s important to reiterate that there’s a fine line between an astute observation and lazy, racist commentary and stereotypes. Most of Sausage Party toes that line but consistently slips off the high wire (with an emphasis on high) into juvenile, stereotypical humor.
- … And No Longer Shocking
Sausage Party can thank South Park for the fact that seeing animated characters spew obscenity and poke at the most basic stereotypes is nothing mouth dropping anymore. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut already conquered theaters, too.
- The Elephant In The Room
You know what seems to be a question no one is asking? How do Frank the Sausage and Brenda the Bun have such a serious relationship when they’ve probably only been in the store together for maybe a few days?