Genre: Comedy, Animation
Directed by: Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon
Starring: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek
Let’s get the obvious out of the way – if you’re not a fan of the kind of humour that Seth Rogen et al have made a name for themselves with, then Sausage Party is not the movie for you. You might as well stop reading now and just go watch something else. Seriously, why even bother? Crass, crude, wildly inventive with lots of swearing, lowbrow toilet humour and sex jokes, coupled with an informed discussion on the nature of organised religion, Sausage Party may well go down as one of the most subversive mainstream comedies of recent years. And in a year in which the laughs have been sorely lacking in the majority of studio comedies, Sausage Party is a welcome delight.
The story is primarily set in the seemingly happy supermarket of Shopwells, in a world (mostly unseen by humans) in which food products are sentient beings with feelings and a highly developed sense of libido. Set the day before America’s Independence Day, the film follows a hot dog sausage named Frank (Seth Rogen) and his bread bun based girlfriend, Brenda (Kristen Wiig), who along with the rest of the supermarket goods, long to be chosen by the so-called human Gods so that they can be taken out of the store to the mythical Great Beyond, a seemingly heavenly place in which all food get to live in peace and harmony. They even have a song about the whole thing.
Sure enough, when a disturbed jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned to the store and describes the terrifying horrors he witnessed in the great beyond, nobody at first believes him. But when Frank and Brenda are catapulted off their shelves, they, along with a neurotic bagel (Edward Norton), a lavash (David Krumholtz) and lesbian taco (Salma Hayek), must make a journey to discover the truth about their existence.On paper, it’s easy to see why Sausage Party may look like just another dumb comedy about food products swearing and making dick jokes. And at first, it seems as if that’s all there is. However, as the film progresses, it eventually reveals itself to be a lot smarter and a hell of a lot funnier too. Visually, the film is incredibly inventive. An early set piece in which several food items spill out from the shopping cart pays homage to the opening of Saving Private Ryan, whilst a cooking sequence, seen so much throughout the trailers, is a pure delight in food based horror. The whole thing then goes off the deep end as it culminates in one of the most bizarre and out there finales in any mainstream movie. I won’t go into details here, but it brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘food porn’.
Yet, what really makes Sausage Party stand out from the glut that we’ve been subjected too recently is that at its core, there is a wonderful satire about the nature of faith and organised religion. As Frank and his pals gradually begin to question everything they’ve believed all their lives, the film reveals itself to have an incredibly poignant message about faith and what we allow ourselves to believe. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict even gets commented on.
The voice cast is uniformly excellent. Rogen and Wiig are their usual selves, whilst Edward Norton and David Krumholtz shine as a neurotic Woody Allen-esque bagel and a middle eastern inspired lavash. Salma Hayek also gets a few good laughs as the lesbian taco. The only sour note would be Nick Kroll’s douche, who literally plays a douche. His jock-brotastic approach to the character can be too much at times and come across as incredibly grating, but that’s a minor flaw in a film so wild and crazy that you eventually just go along with the whole thing.
Incredibly crass and incredibly crude, whilst paying loving homage to the films of Pixar, Sausage Party is easily one of the best mainstream studio comedies of the year.