Kristen Wiig

Sausage Party

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Sausage Party (2016) – Comedy 

Directed by: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon

Starring: A Grocery Store’s Perishables, Non-Perishables and a Douche

How I Watched: Theaters

Best Line: “I’ll tell you who eats shit. Gods do, bro! I’M A FUCKING GOD!”

This is an incredibly difficult movie to review. While the content of the film is not exactly heavy or too cumbersome to tackle thematically, Sausage Party is full of unexpectedly creative ways of presenting religious and existentially deep concepts. Now before you run away from this review, just hang on a second. Sausage Party has enough topical humor to keep the average stoner (and non-stoner) familiar with Rogen and Goldberg’s body of work entertained for its quick, 89-minute running time. The one-liners are great, the animation is hysterical, and the voice actors are just as funny animated as they are acting in movies. This film goes deeper than that, though. I think this is why the review is so hard to write. There is so much buried in this story, that it’s difficult to discuss without spoiling the plot.

So here goes. Those familiar with The LEGO Movie might best understand where I am going with this review. My girlfriend’s Film professor at the time of its release, was giving out extra credit to his students that went and saw it in the theater, so I very hesitantly went along with her. To my surprise, the arcing theme of The LEGO Movie was rife with deep philosophical metaphors meant for the parents of the children they were attending the movie with. What I walked away with was a semi-permanent grin that did not dissipate for about a week. I walked away from Sausage Party with that same grin.

I suppose if you let it hit you that way, Sausage Party could be a very stupid movie; the same way that Toy Story could be. Yeah, they’re seemingly inanimate objects talking amongst themselves when the humans are not looking and that’s absolutely ridiculous, right? Yeah, it is, but only if you let it be you unimaginative dickbag. If you have any sense of wonder, Toy Story caught and tugged at your heart as you watched those toys fight for their place in the universe. Sausage Party is no different.

Actually, it’s way different. I think the animated characters said “Fuck” more times than any movie that’s come out so far this year: 160+ according to pluggedin.com (who also mentions that “God’s name is misused at least 20 times…” *insert eye roll here*). If you’ve seen the Red Band trailer, you’ll know there’s also some vicious mutilations and enough sexual innuendo to make Paul Reubens happy in an empty theater. So yeah, I guess it’s different from Toy Story and The LEGO Movie. Vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake aside, this is a smart and viciously hilarious movie. A lot of the jokes will go over Millennials’ heads, including a very Jewish bagel that sounds like an Annie Hall-era Woody Allen on Freud’s couch, or perhaps even the scientifically philosophical musings of a Stephen Hawking-inspired piece of chewed gum.

If you don’t like Goldberg and Rogen films (SuperbadThe InterviewNeighbors, etc.), chances are you won’t like this one either. It features Rogen’s character, Frank, pretty heavily throughout and yes, he’s guilty of the same style of comedy that he always is (which I find hilarious). There are cheap laughs, but a lot of people might be pleasantly surprised by the voices coming out of these character’s mouths. I think my favorite was that of Nick Kroll’s, as a walking douche. Those familiar with his Comedy Central show (Kroll Show)will immediately recognize one of the voices he uses, and it made me laugh any time he said anything in Sausage Party.

Sausage Party isn’t perfect. It probably isn’t even the funniest movie that I’ve seen this year. It is however, unexpectedly smart and it will probably even make you feel guilty for eating popcorn while watching. It is a great way to spend an hour and a half on a hot summer night, so get your friends, have a few beers and go to this summer’s funniest movie. And for The Gods’ sake, leave your damn kids at home!

Final Score: 3.5/4

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Similar Films: Toy Story, The LEGO Movie, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

Ghostbusters 3D (2016)

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Ghostbusters 3D (2016) – Comedy

Directed by: Paul Feig

Starring: Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy

How I Watched: Theatres

Best Line: “Do NOT compare me to the Jaws Mayor!”

I love everything about the Ghostbusters universe. I grew up absolutely enthralled, playing with the firehouse, the corresponding figurines, multiple Slimer toys, the list goes on. I’ve got the first two installments on Laserdisc and have grabbed each new format that comes out what seems like every year. So when I got the news that Paul Feig was bringing us a new Ghostbusters, I was both excited and admittedly skeptical. How could I not be?

Feig is a funny man. He created Freaks and Geeks for us all, was one of the funniest parts of a horribly underappreciated film called Heavyweights, and has continued the traditions of the Judd Apatow school of drama-injected comedy. He also is a self-confessed Ghostbusters geek, so it makes sense why he was so dead set on bringing a new one to all of us. He knows this universe well and he did everything he could to bring us a faithful adaptation that does nothing to receive the vicious scrutiny thrown its way before the movie even had a chance to hit theatres.

This new installment is not without faults, though. It’s hard to live up to one of the most perfect comedies ever given to the world, but this film is loaded with all the capabilities and opportunity that I’ve ever seen. We all know from Bridesmaids, just how funny Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are together. Trust me, I was not all that impressed with that film the first time I saw it, but after I gave it a second chance, I have come to appreciate just how funny it is. Sure it has what I like to call the ‘Apatow Freeze’ (hilarious up until the middle of the movie, where the characters are suddenly facing some kind of depressing crisis), but its improv powers become more prevalent and hilarious with each viewing.

Though they feel a bit suppressed in Ghostbusters, Wiig and McCarthy do a pretty excellent job filling the shoes of both Aykroyd and Murray, while still carving their own place in this universe. I was under the impression that this new film was going to acknowledge the events of the first two. While it doesn’t really, the whole film feels like a loving tribute to those original two. Leslie Jones is much funnier and more prominent than Ernie Hudson (whose character was actually written for Eddie Murphy, then practically written out of the script once Murphy turned the part down) and Kate McKinnon pretty much steals the whole movie as the Spengler-inspired Holtzmann. Honestly, she’s going to be a force in Hollywood for a long time. If you’ve enjoyed her like I have on SNL for the past few years, you’ll love her character in Ghostbusters.

If there’s one thing I can knock from the first two installments, it’s the lack of making the ghosts a real force in the storyline. Sure, Vigo the Carpathian brings a Lovecraftian presence to II, and Gozer and the Marshmallow Man hold their place in the first, but they are not really frightening in the least. While the ghosts in the 2016 version are not really scary either, they look great and feel like they’re really part of the whole storyline. Slimer is back of course, and there are some new towering spectral entities destroying New York for our enjoyment.

The 2016 Ghostbusters is not perfect. Ramis, Aykroyd and Reitman brought us the perfect version back in 1984, so this one simply could not live up to that. What this new one brings though, is a very loving, affectionate trip into the universe, and rather than a replacement that it seemed like the entire internet feared (misogynist and otherwise), I’d consider this an additional installment in the Ghostbusters universe that already exists. So of course, you can say this new version is unnecessary and a smear on the first two movies. Real fans of the Ghostbusters films though, will consider this the Ghostbusters III that we’ve all been waiting for.

Final Score: 3/4

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Similar Films: Ghostbusters (1984), Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters II