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American sausage standoff

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‘American Sausage Standoff’ review: Film may get too zany for its own good

Going too far?

American Sausage Standoff has an eye-catching title, if nothing else. Set in the small town of Gutterbee, the movie is about two men who want to start a German sausage restaurant. However, the citizens of the two want to keep their town wholly American and the establishment is not on their agenda. This sets off a philosophical battle between the fundamentalists of the town and the sausage aficionados.

Perhaps predictably, the town is filled with oddball characters. Some characters work better than others, but it does give American Sausage Standoff a unique feel. The problem becomes when the movie becomes more concerned with being strange instead of being good. In these moments, the film goes all in on its wackiness and seems to forget about anything else.

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This may be seen most evidently in lead villain Jimmy Jerry Lee Jones (W. Earl Brown). He is a cowboy who sings at night while promising to “make Gutterbee great again”. The joke is a tired one, but it’s a necessary evil. The fact that he hunts down and expels people he thinks are from another country is not enough to let audiences know what he is supposed to be representing.

American Sausage Standoff takes on many topical issues. Along with xenophobia, racism and homophobia are part of the story. These are important topics to be sure and the film does an excellent job of mixing outrageous comedy with social commentary. This is always difficult (and, to be fair, not all of the jokes land), but the film is able to accomplish this for the most part. Most importantly, it never seems like it is making light of any of the subjects it is dealing with.

It is not the film’s zany jokes, but chaotic nature that impacts it the most. Split into chapters, American Sausage Standoff is broken down into a series of events. This decision makes it easier to point out the strong points of the plot. In particular, scenes without Edward (Ewen Bremmer) are noticeably weaker. This will make a funny film with something to say  inaccessible for many.

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