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Laramie Movie Scope:
Sausage Party

A vulgar comedy about the lack of an afterlife

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 19, 2016 -- I passed on this when it came to the local theater, after not enjoying the similarly-themed movie, “This is the End,” but I was curious to see it. Seth Rogen (“The Interview”) is a key player in both films. Rogen uses comedy in both films to critique religion and how it relates to tolerance of other kinds of belief.

The subject of religion is usually off limits in popular culture, but this kind of animated comedy is a way of bypassing the uncomfortable clash of views between different religions and between believers and non-believers. This film takes a less direct approach to religious belief by using a different setting and a different mythology, but the message is clear.

In this story, the main characters are a hot dog and a bun in a supermarket, waiting to be bought by “the gods” (humans) in a supermarket on July 3. They believe that when they are bought, and are taken out of the supermarket, they will pass into paradise.

The hot dog, Frank, and the bun, Brenda, want to get together, sexually, but stay inside their packaging, at first. Brenda is constrained by conventional morality, while Frank seems to think that in “Paradise,” he will get inside Brenda, literally.

When a human customer returns honey mustard for regular mustard, the bottle of honey mustard, having seen “Paradise,” begins to warn the other foods that a terrible fate awaits them outside the store. Frank sets out to find the truth. He finds some non-perishable foods hiding in the store who admit to him that they made up the Paradise myth so that the other foods will be happier. Then, Frank finds something awful, shades of the Twilight Zone, an illustrated cookbook.

When Frank discovers the truth, he tries to warn the other foods in the supermarket, but he is rejected. This is where the story runs up against the problem with trying to discuss religious belief. Believers tend to get very hostile when their beliefs are challenged. In real life you cannot prove the existence, or non-existence, of an afterlife, so these arguments are ultimately futile. In this story, however, the myth of “Paradise” can be debunked with facts.

It isn't that simple, of course. Intelligent design and creationism theories are quite easily debunked, but believers often rely on faith, rather than scientific evidence. This clash of faith versus evidence to the contrary rises up in this movie, too, but only briefly.

In this story, the non-believers issue a call to action to rise up against the humans (to overthrow the “gods”) and save themselves. In a sense, those who overthrow their gods, attain freedom (probably temporary). This is the power of non-belief. In other stories, such as “Birth of a Nation,” believers overthrew their masters. That is the power of belief. It works both ways.

This movie seems to land on the side of truth. It seems to say that while the truth may be very unpleasant, it is better than believing in a pleasant fantasy that blinds you to the truth and leads to your own destruction. So if there is no paradise, what is there to take its place? In this movie, the answer is sex, and lots of it.

I did not expect much of this movie, but it turned out better than I expected. It is very funny, with lots of jokes from movies and popular culture. There are references to Stephen Hawking, Meat Loaf and the Rocky Horror Picture show, for instance. There are a lot of funny cultural references in the film. If you don't mind the obscenities and the strange sex scenes, this is a funny, enjoyable film. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2016 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)