11th Jan2017

Review Round-Up: ‘Sausage Party’ & ‘Bad Moms’

by Phil Wheat

SAUSAGE PARTY

Stars: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, James Franco, Bill Hader, Salma Hayek, David Krumholtz, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Paul Rudd | Directed by Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

saus-p-image

The groceries at Shopwell’s live their lives by a code that helps them stay peaceful and happy until it’s time for them to leave the comfort of the supermarket and head for “the great beyond”. However, after a botched trip to the great beyond leaves one sausage named Frank and his companion Bun stranded, their lives become a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store…

I was really, really, looking forward to Sausage Party, I truly was. I enjoy a good gross out comedy as much as the next person – maybe more so, given how many I’ve seen – but Rogen’s latest, an animation aimed squarely at adults, just didn’t resonate with me. It’s like Rogen and co. took their stoner humour one step too far (as evidenced by THAT final scene). In fact everyone connected with this movie must have been stoned when it was greenlit, when it was animated, when the voices were recorded, etc., etc. I just don’t see otherwise, beyond the filmmakers having blackmailed someone to produce this film, how this came into being.

Sausage Party is filled with sophmoric dick and fart jokes, sexual innuendo and overtly sexuality between foodstuffs; with a final grocery orgy that is actually so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh and it’s best scene spoiled by it’s trailer. If that sounds like fun to you, go right ahead and buy this movie. Me? I’ll stick with the adult animation of Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

* 1/5

BAD MOMS

Stars: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo, Clark Duke, Jay Hernandez, Wendell Pierce | Directed by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

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Amy Mitchell (Kunis) is a 32-year-old, happily married, committed mother-of-two who works as a sales rep for a coffee company. But after finding out her husband is cheating on her, Amy becomes fed up with her stressful life and decides to take action. She quits the PTA in protest of its overbearing leader Gwendolyn (Applegate) and gets together with some of her fellow mothers for a wild and liberating night on the town. Along with town outcast and single mum Carla (Hahn) and worn out mother-of-four Kiki (Bell), Amy hits the bars for an all-night bender that allows the trio to let loose in a wild, indulgent trip of liberation before deciding to make some important changes to their lives, including tackling Gwendolyn head-on.

After a deluge of films featuring man-child characters in gross-out comedies, it was left to Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids to take the comedy charge and open the floodgates for similar comedies featuring female leads – often acting just as stupid and gross as their male counterparts! Since then there has been a steady stream of such movies: Trainwreck, Sisters, and most of Melissa McCarthy filmography… Bad Moms takes this idea of female-led crude, often sexual, comedy film one step further. It makes it’s main characters mothers! Yes, that bastion of American morality, the icon of what it means to be “family” in American pop culture, in Bad Moms acts as stupid and foul-mouthed as the man-child characters epitomised by Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill etc. And frankly it makes this film all the more hilarious!

But Bad Moms is much more than just a bunch of women acting stupid, it is about women becoming empowered, free from the constraints of the societal pressures of motherhood – there’s a real message buried within the drinking, the swearing and the stupidity; and as such it wouldn’t be complete without some sentimentality, which actually helps to balance out the films more farcical elements.

*** ½  3.5/5
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Sausage Party and Bad Moms are both out now on DVD, Blu-ray and Download.

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