2016 Rental Roundup 3: Sausage Party, Purge 3, A Streetcat Named Bob

Sausage Party

Of all the movies you expected to be about a message, did you think it would be this one?

The writers really couldn’t settle down on a tone or even an audience for the movie. The characters will with one corner of their mouths make some really elite references and follow it up with a low-brow torrent of vulgarity. South Park does this sort of thing too, but with such smooth precision that it makes Sausage Party look very amateurish. It happens so much that’s both grating and boring.

But once you peel away the thick layers of ethnic jokes and dialog that would make George Carlin blush, has a rather compelling plot: The sentient food items in a supermarket were raised from “birth” to believe that shoppers take them to a blissful afterlife. Instead of, you know, sending them to horrific deaths.

The plot gets kicked off as a returned product tries to spread the truth, but is rebuffed by the faithful. But it’s enough to lead the main character to question his faith and trying to learn more.

And when things finally come together and he also tries to spread the truth for the survival of his fellow foodstuffs, he doesn’t take their continued faithfulness well and bombards everybody with a litany of insults. But then comes the lesson from the Democratic Party’s port-mortem almost a year in advance: You can’t persuade people when you’re disrespecting them.

So while the film was oddly ahead of itself with the moral of the story, it was also horribly dated before it even came out with a reference to bath salts. It’s like the script was written in both November 2016 and March 2012 instead of 2015.

Verdict: Rental (3/5). The good parts are very good, but the rather extreme overuse of crassness can wear on you. I mean, The Wolf of Wall Street was cleaner-mouthed than this.

The Purge 3: Election Year

I’m still surprised a new one of these doesn’t land every year. I’m even more surprised that they actually advanced the plot! This really kind of messes with the series potential as a guilty-pleasure milk-it-to-death horror that we all know and love.

I just don’t get it. The plot actually advanced too far. This could outright end the Purge movies. They did write in a new way forward, but there just doesn’t seem to be any momentum left.

That, in turn, is at odds with fact that Purge 3 had more than three times the budget of the first one (though all three made about the same amount of profit). It’s certainly the best looking and most ambitious of the three. That ambition causes the tone of the movie to drift even further from the series origins as Night Trap.

Whereas The Purge was the setting of the first two movies, it’s front and center as the plot in Election Year. The New Founding Fathers make their appearance… anticlimactically, as a bunch of mostly ordinary politicians. The savior running against the status quo to try to end The Purge once and for all is… some wealthy white lady.

If you’d like to see a Purge movie be about The Purge and not just telling vignettes during The Purge, this is your stop. There’s still plenty of action and general mayhem. But sequel escalation has raised the staked beyond seeing who lives and who dies, and the result is a movie that takes itself too seriously.

Verdict: Rental (3/5). Not bad, but it jumped the shark.

A Streetcat Named ‘Bob’

This third movie is also based on a true story. Though even this (mostly) happy tale about and underdog and an undercat saving each other still has a body count.

If you exteneded the ”I don’t own a cat” meme to a feature-legnth movie, this would be it. James Bowen is a recovering junkie and street performer who needs some help to make it. That help comes in the form of Bob, a stray cat who breaks into James’ apartment and then is too stubborn to leave James alone even for a minute.

The feline sideshow adds some much-needed notoriety to James’ work, and things are headed way up. But this success is a fragile thing, and there isn’t much a street performer can do when things take a turn.

It does seem a little convenient that every bad thing that happens to our human hero just so happens to be the fault of others. At the same time, it’s a good art-imitating-life look at how life can mercilessly keep kicking somebody while they’re down. If nothing else, it’s a good allegory for how powerless a person can feel when they have little to no margin for error in life.

The real star of the movie, of course, is Bob. And, yes, that’s that actual-factual Bob in this movie. It turns out this untrained cat was a natural star. I can’t imagine how the real James Bowen felt about how readily the cat treated actor Luke Treadaway like the genuine article. I suppose we’re all not just replaceable, but interchangeable to cats.

Verdict: Go for it (4/5). See it at least once for the novelty of Bob.


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