Synopsis – A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.
My Take – We all have our own list of favorite dishes or cuisine we love to eat, right? But imagine, what if our food came alive and talked in the most profane way imaginable. The awesome Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have reunited once again in this incredibly raunchy R- rated comedy following their success with ‘This Is the End’ and ‘Neighbors’, except what’s different this time is this comedy is an CGI animated feature revolving around talking food products rather than human characters. Imagine a crude and explicit version of Toy Story, but swap the toys for food, and you’ve got this film in a nutshell. This film is a rare stroke of genius that took the form of a cartoon film. There have uproarious cartoons in the past i.e. Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park. (They are in filth order, from dirty to shocking) this film raises the bar to a new low. The aforementioned films and shows make use of modern themes while expressing them with outlandish gambits that live action films can’t. This film is definitely not for kids and It definitely deserves its R-rating! For a film starring and written by Seth Rogen, you would expect to see a straight forward raunchy comedy with no-holds-bar vulgarity and abundance of four letter words. This comedy however, manages to squeeze in a surprisingly thought-provoking allegory to religion along with the predictably irreverent humor, similar to what we saw in ‘This Is the End’ which followed a cast of characters trying to survive the apocalypse. Since Seth Rogen and his crew admitted this film is an intentional spoof of Pixar and DreamWorks films, it left me further curious on what was to expect. When it ended, I thought to myself, “Past animated films went the R-rated route before, so is this a step further?” As entertaining as it is to watch food be voiced by Seth Rogen‘s squad, the film becomes increasingly grotesque and uncomfortable with every scene. Though I will say the ending does make it one of 2016’s greatest successes.
The story revolves around Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage, who along with his friends Carl (Jonah Hill) and the diminutive Barry (Michael Cera) live inside their package. Frank’s only desire is to get picked alongside his girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a bun, taken home, and shoved inside one another in the most sexual fashion. Every morning, the denizens of Shopwell supermarket sing a song of joy while they lay in waiting for a benevolent god (human) to choose them and take them to the “great beyond”. Failure to be chosen, or worse dropped on the floor, means produce is to be thrown away in a seemingly bottomless abyss of a grocery store garbage bin. Frank and Brenda however like their chances. It’s a few days till red, white and blue day; what could go wrong? Only the worse! The moment a container of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) returns he forecasts doom & commits suicide. In an attempt to save him, Frank & Brenda come out of their packages leading to a grocery cart accident. A feminine hygiene product Douche (Nick Kroll) angered by a grocery cart accident blames Frank & Brenda for losing his chances to be useful. Lost in the huge supermarket, Frank & Brenda band with rivals Lavash (David Krumholtz) & Sammy the Bagel (Edward Norton) to find the truth & get back to their shelves. I’ll first say this, I don’t think everyone will find it funny. If you aren’t already a fan of Seth Rogan’s films, like I am, the humor probably won’t do much for you. But I don’t think anyone can deny that the film’s story is very smart, and I think might make up for some of the negatives you may have about the film. The early reviews were right, it has a lot of clever things to say about religion, about taboos in society, about bigotry between cultures, and it’s not lazy about any of these subjects. A comedy about foul-mouth talking food? Yeah, kind of sounds like a dumb idea, right? Well, with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg behind the writing process, this film unexpectedly manages to be much smarter than what you may anticipate while at the same time, being hysterically funny in blatantly absurd ways. Let me talk about the jokes for a second. Yes there are plenty of sexual jokes in it, a lot of which I found funny. But I think the majority of the laughs I had came from the different ethnic foods interacting with each other. I could watch the Bagel and Lavash argue with each other all day. Needless to say there are times when the film get’s lost in the tall grass with over-broad ethnic stereotypes (A Native American liquor bottle named Firewater certainly ranks among the most egregious). But let’s face it, if you’re sold on the premise of a R- Rated animated comedy about food-stuffs you probably won’t be too concerned. If anything I think the majority of the sort of sexual jokes people expect from the film happen at the very end, like the last 10 minutes of the film. The embedded oddness of the story lends itself to some pretty unique and funny jokes. Advertised with inventive marketing, this highly anticipated comedy delivers much more than just a string of raunchy R-rated humor and a no-brainer of a plot. Rogen and Goldberg accomplish this by formulating the plot that serves as a metaphor to Christianity, with the food being purchased by shoppers and taken into the “great beyond” which serves as a clear analogy to heaven.
One line in particular is “the gods work in mysterious ways”. This also includes some comedic dialogue and humor that falls metaphorical to references of the bible including a silly musical number in which the film opens up with. Yes, the humor has no reservation of being politically incorrect or downright offensive, especially with all the seemingly non-stop profanity. At the same time, Rogen and Goldberg know how to make it funny and subversive. Sure, some of the jokes do fall on the mean-spirited side, or under the not-so-rare circumstances push the envelope, particularly the massive food orgy scene. Though it is meant to be funny, it’s necessarily clever or even charming in the slightest. On the other hand, the film as a whole knows how to be funny in a way that works, even without the constant vulgar gags thrown around here and there. As an animation, the film is artfully, colorfully and simplistically rendered. Each section of the grocery store lights up with a look and feel that compliments the local produce. After the doors close the Mexican food area resembles a rustic western cantina, the cookware section beams with the silvery glow of shimmering straight edges and the alcohol aisle is just one big rave. Environments outside the store are limited yet realistically depict the kitchen of a prim housewife and the dingy living room of a bugged out druggie. The less I tell you about the brief street scene, the better. Overall, it’s obvious there were limitations in the budget yet if compared to the similarly themed Foodfight! (2012), this film’s animation is an artistic triumph. But don’t get me wrong, there are problems. Probably the major one being that the villain really doesn’t need to be there. He just kind of serves to be a slightly disturbing character, who sucks out other products’ juice to become stronger. If they cut him out of the film we wouldn’t have missed anything, apart from a few jokes from him. Also the ending is very, well, an ending, in that it ends the film. It’s one of those endings I wouldn’t really describe as “bad” or “good” it’s just sort of “I don’t really know how else they could have ended it, so yeah I guess that works.” Coming to the Vocal-Performances. Seth Rogen as Frank, the heroic Sausage, is tops, as always. Kristen Wiig as Brenda, a hot-dog bun & Frank’s love-interest, is excellent. Bill Hader as Firewater, an old Native American bottle of liquor, Tequila, and El Guaco, a guacamole gangster, is a riot. Edward Norton as Sammy Bagel Jr., a bagel & Salma Hayek as Teresa del Taco, a lesbian taco shell who develops a lustful friendship with Brenda, steal the show. Michael Cera as Barry, a deformed sausage who is one of Frank’s friends, is cute. Danny McBride as Honey Mustard, a grocery who was returned to Shopwell’s and tries to warn Frank of their fate, is loud. James Franco as the Druggie, a junkie drug addict who is the first known human to see the foods as sentient beings, brings the house down. Jonah Hill as Carl, a sausage who’s packed with Frank and Barry, is effective enough. Paul Rudd as Darren, the manager of Shopwell’s, who the food-toons are frightened by, is first-rate. Others lend superb support. On the whole, ‘Sausage Party’ is a very funny, foul, crass, mean-spirited little film that doesn’t just hand in shock value laughs for the sake of shock value laughs.
Rated – R
Run Time – 89 minutes