As a movie critic, it’s sometimes painful to admit to the other critics that I’m a fan of Seth Rogen. Even his movies that don’t get good reviews, usually crack me up (I’m thinking about the controversial The Interview).
That being said, I was looking forward to the latest from writer/producer duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. And when an opening song provided a few laughs, I felt good about the direction this was going. It quickly became apparent that…they wanted to just milk one joke. That they can do the raunchiest animated movie you’ll ever see. I think there were at least 50 F-bombs in the first 15 minutes. It reminded me of when Howard Stern went to satellite radio. Everyone was excited that he could finally curse, and get as dirty as he wanted. And as I predicted, it was a lot more fun when he had some FCC restraints he had to work around.
For a comedic premise, this is a great one. We saw the toys come to life in Toy Story. We recently saw the pets come to life in The Secret Life of Pets. Why not have food items eagerly await humans picking them up at the store, thinking they’re going somewhere great? It’s only when a honey mustard (Danny McBride) is returned for the regular brand, that he informs the others — these “Gods” are doing bad things to us out there. That prompts Frank the wiener (Seth Rogen), to investigate further. It also gives the movie a few chuckles about the existence of God. And hey…it’s a decent point. What God would let these creatures be diced, peeled, boiled, and microwaved?
Kristen Wiig plays a hot dog bun named Brenda, who has a rather flirtatious relationship with Frank (you can imagine the innuendos).
The most frustrating thing about this movie is that they give us moments of brilliance. We get the Israel/Palestine conflict done with a bagel (Edward Norton, doing a Woody Allen voice), arguing with an Arab lavosh. How can you not laugh when he talks about wanting to go to heaven, to enjoy 70 bottles of virgin olive oil all over his body? Or when Frank, tired of their bickering over shelf space and who was there first, yells, “Isn’t there enough shelf space for both of you?”
Salma Hayek plays a lesbian taco, with only a few lines that work.
Jonah Hill plays a deformed hot dog, that has to deal with taunts for his appearance, and jokes that he’ll never get inside a bun.
Bill Hader, who is welcome in any comedy, plays a bottle of “Firewater.” I’m guessing if people are easily offended, they won’t care for the Native American stereotypes. And, there are lots of them. There are also German sauerkrauts that march like nazis and talk about “exterminating all of the ‘juice’.” (while Ride of the Valkyries plays).
Craig Robinson plays a box of Grits, who hates “crackers.” Most of his lines don’t work, either.
My girlfriend leaned over and said, “I think stoners are really going to love this movie.”
Yes, and so will teenagers, although they won’t get the Saving Private Ryan scene (which has an Oreo picking up half his body after a shopping cart mishap), or the In the Heat of the Night “Mr. Tibbs” line.
The two directors have experience with animation. They are Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Greg Tiernan (Thomas the Tank Engine). The visuals do work well for what they’re trying to capture.
James Franco, a Rogen regular, shows up as a druggie that shoots up bath salts and ends up talking to the food during his trip. Not a lot happens in that scene.
There are some characters that simply don’t work. One of those would be Nick Kroll as a d-bag, who is…well, a d-bag that wants to fight everyone, and call them “bro.”
Michael Cera and Paul Rudd, also Rogan regulars, are wasted in there parts.
The best use of a song in a film this year, would easily be Meatloaf, who is, of course….a meatloaf.
The dirty jokes were really stretched thin. It all got so repetitive. I’ll stick to Family Guy for dirty animation. Oh, and they do try to rival the hilarity of the puppet sex scene in Team America. They do come close. It’s the dirtiest use of food since Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in 9 ½ Weeks.
This gets 2 1/2 stars out of 5, but I think most people will like this more than I did. So if the commercials made you laugh, and you’re a fan of Rogen’s comedy, you should check this out.