To say Sausage Party is anything groundbreaking would be dishonest. R-rated animated films are not an untapped market, and there have been many as recently as this year (Batman: The Killing Joke). However, to also say that when I read the description for a movie about sentient grocery store foods and products I didn’t immediately think “colorful family fun” would also be a lie, and this movie is not for young viewers, not even in the slightest. There are things that happen within this movie that could only happen in an animated film, if the studio ever wanted the film to see the light of day. It’s writing is vile, repugnant, offensive, obscene and rather hilarious. The movie is actually kind of brilliant.
Seth Rogen and his merry band of frequent collaborators have landed one of the greatest practical jokes in history. The film begins with a shot of an empty parking lot in front of a large, glass-ceiling grocery store. The acne-faced manager unlocks the automatic doors with a big yawn and the customers come piling in, pushing their carts with great big smiling faces and even larger rear ends. As the customers begin perusing the aisles on Independence Day eve, the foods all begin to join together in song, as they do every morning, in order to appease what they consider the customers: Gods who want to take Rogen and his perishable pals to the “great beyond,” which is what they call whatever is outside the automatic doors.
The song begins as innocent as ever when the corn on the cob husks itself and begins the chorus, but it soon takes quite the turn as every curse word and offense imaginable is thrown into the mix. Products are criticising the “fruits,” sauerkraut sings about eliminating “the juice,” f*ck this and f*ck that, anything and everything. It was actually a bit surprising to see the kiddie-friendly veil broken so soon.
As soon as the musical number ends, the plot starts to kick in, and it is very clever. A food’s whole goal is to be chosen by the Gods, or customers, and taken to the great beyond, or outdoors, in order to be bathed in unimaginable love and riches. What they don’t know is that there is something much more sinister outside the sliding glass doors, and that horror is just us humans cooking and eating them. The characters include a package of sausages, one of which is voiced by Seth Rogen, a bun (Kristin Wiig), a bagel (viced by Edward Norton doing his best Woody Allen impression) and a piece of flatbread (David Krumholtz) so to emulate the israeli/palestinian conflict, and, our villain, a douche (Nick Kroll in an example of pitch-perfect casting). The story is simple, as most animated movies tend to be, and it follows Frank (Rogen) as he attempts to find out the truth about the “great beyond.”
Say what you will about the humor, but there is not a dull point in this film. Every single frame is covered in colorful, surprisingly handsome animation and endearing characters. The animation was very startling as it really gave the audience something to behold, especially in the high-stakes scenes such as an ode to the opening D-Day battle in Saving Private Ryan and the fantastically f*cked up scene from the trailer where the foods are finally shown what “to be taken home” really entails.
As for the writing, it is hard to say. Comedy is the most subjective genre in filmmaking and the second most inconsistent (right behind horror), so take my opinion as a grain of salt. I found the writing to be, as offensive and cruel to the eardrums as it is, absolutely hilarious. There were very few moments where I wasn’t laughing thanks to the laugh-out-loud dialogue and some truly unforgettable sight gags. The way in which Rogen and his fellow writers decided to have the humans finally see the food for what it truly is was ingenious and thoroughly satisfying and the finale was so extraordinarily ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh, I know my theater was. It erupted during the finale.
To say I loved Sausage Party is really not of much use to you, the reader. The concept is undeniably clever and the execution is quite grand, however, it is not a movie for the faint of heart or the thin-skinned. Nobody is safe. Think Trey Parker and Matt Stone meets Pixar and you got the basic idea for Sausage Party. If that sounds like a good time, give it a shot; if it doesn’t, then don’t….or do. It is only an hour and a half of your life.
4 out of 5