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The Surprising Success of Sausage Party

12 Oct 2016

This Summer, a different kind of animated film took the Box Office by storm.  In a radical departure from the family-favourite animated features that have dominated previously, The R-Rated Sausage Party is a revelation.

The response from critics has been mixed, but the film has grossed $91.1m since its US release a month ago.  In light of this, we take a look at why an astoundingly raunchy film about groceries has been such a success.

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It actually has a pretty interesting message

Unexpectedly, Sausage Party actually offers some pretty insightful social commentary in its critique of organized religion.  Indeed, The Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman goes as far as to describe the film as ‘a pro-reason, pro-knowledge story that it vehemently against the corruption found in a religion’.  This message is introduced subtly, disguised with enough humour to prevent the film from appearing preachy.

That message is pretty hard to miss

As Rupert Hawksley of The Telegraph puts it, ‘you’d have to be very, very stoned to miss it’.  There’s a lot to be said for a film that’s easy to understand.

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Even if the message is a little over-simplistic, it still appeals to the film’s target audience

Hawksley appears to miss the point when he claims that ‘What should have been a shamelessly filthy stoner movie has been watered down with ill-judged, undergraduate musings on religion, philosophy and race’.  Since the film’s main audience is people of undergraduate age, those musings probably appeal to them and only add to the film’s success.

It also has a message that a lot of people can probably relate to

There’s a lot of frustrated sexual desire in Sausage Party and the message of it seems to be that ‘everyone would probably be happier if they were screwing’ as Jordan Hoffman puts is.

It’s kind of a parody of disaster movies

Everyone loves disaster movies and Sausage Party taps into that trend by appropriating the language of disaster movies for comedic value.  Indeed, Wendy Ide of The Observer notes that the film is ‘funniest when the film-makers appropriate the filmic language of the disaster movie’.

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Despite the seemingly absurd premise, it creates a surprisingly believable world

From an objective perspective, a film about groceries longing to leave the supermarket so they can have sex with each other sounds pretty bizarre to say the least.  However, somehow Sausage Party feels believable and is easy to connect with as a result of what Hoffman calls ‘surprisingly thorough world-building’.

It’s fun

Food having sex is funny.  Food not realising that it’s going to be eaten is funny.  To be honest, food that talks is funny.  Sausage Party is actually just really funny.

It takes risks

For better or for worse, Sausage Party is the first film to make a joke about the Twin Towers.  According to MTV’s Amy Nicholson this daring move pays off as the joke raises ‘wicked, guilty and oddly purifying guffaw-gasps’.

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It’s actually quite scary in places

The brains behind Sausage Party have done a pretty good job of making it surprisingly scary in places.  Empire’s Nick De Semlyen describes it as a ‘weird hybrid of cutesy cartoon and horror flick’ whilst Jordan Hoffman observes that ‘there is a shocking amount of proper, terrorizing fear’ in the film.  Audiences love horror, especially when it’s as ridiculous and detached from reality as it is in Sausage Party.

It’s original

In an era of sequels and remakes, Sausage Party’s originality makes it stand out from the crowd and makes it bound to attract the attention of film-goers bored of seeing the same film over and over again.