The first scene in Saban’s Power Rangers features a joke about jerking off a bull; the movie never gets more clever or subtle. It also probably never gets less weird. Saban’s Power Rangers is full of clichés, takes forever to get going, and suffers from Transformers Syndrome (the dreaded disease where your million-dollar CGI results in indistinguishable characters and clumsy action sequences). Still, there is a bombastic charm to the movie. The director and five credited screenwriters don’t seem to worry if three training montages is too many, or care that using the theme song from the 1990s results in tonal whiplash. Elements of the movie are undoubtedly stupid, but it has a nostalgic kind of irreverence about it, as if to say, “It’s Power Rangers, everyone. Relax.”
The hard-R animated comedy has a storied history (see: Fritz the Cat, Southpark, and Heavy Traffic), but is not a particularly populous genre, and it is easy to see why. Animation is both expensive and time-consuming, so it is extra challenging for an R-rated animated film to recoup its investment when compared to the more family-friendly fare of studios like Pixar or Dreamworks. But, none of that seems to matter to the creative forces behind Sausage Party, a coarse animated comedy from the minds of Seth Rogen and his crew, and which was directed by the team of Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. Though the movie leans heavily on foul language, offensive stereotypes, and blatant sexual innuendo, there is also a surprising intellect behind the plot elements and thematic statements. The end product is a wonderful mixture of crass sex jokes, pop culture reference, and foul language – all of which serves a story that brings far more to the table than the standard hard-R comedy.