This last year or so seems to be a bit of a watershed when it comes to studio films where you feature prominently. First it was Hail Caesar (although that was mostly allegorical), followed by the mediocre Risen, and then, finally, the lamentable Miracles From Heaven. After that I was sure that Hollywood had exhausted the piety circus for at least another quarter.
So imagine my surprise when the single most prominent theme running throughout an otherwise moderately transgressive--and often truly funny--adult cartoon called Sausage Party was how it may be desireable to throw off the shackles inherent in religious faith. In fact, perhaps that liberation was an absolute necessity for any individual to fully actualize themselves, no matter what food group they belong to.
Vague Nietzschean allusions aside, this is a pretty fucking funny film. And I use that swear word carefully because this is some deeply R-rated food porn at times. As well, Sausage Party never shrinks from some imaginative and often disturbing violence--so much so that I’m sure Disney is rolling over in his cryogenic chamber.
The voice work by a talented cast is clever and surprisingly affecting--Danny McBride and Ed Norton being just two examples of any number of noteworthy turns. The production and character design are perfectly modulated and the script hums along nicely. This is definitely a funny and often surprisingly deep piece of entertainment.
Message movies, no matter how cleverly disguised, or even how in tune they may be with my particular sensibilities, are destined to always be less than the sum of their parts. And Sausage Party, for all its impiety and joyous mischief, undercuts itself in a dreary and predictable way. It’s got something to sell: the same way Tomorrowland did, the same way Risen did, and especially the same way Miracles From Heaven did. All of these films were less about an unfolding narrative, and much more about underlining a worldview.
Stories always suffers when there is an agenda tacked on. It closes potential doors, it removes a sense of chaos and possibility that informs what is so compelling about ‘Once Upon A Time’--which is that you may be familiar with the opening refrain but the joy comes in not necessarily being able to anticipate the resolution.
As much as I enjoyed this film, I wish you had been an absent father--mostly because your omnipresence is, to me at least, more boring than anything else.