Sausage Party (2016)
Sausage Party (2016)

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.

Release Date: August 12th, 2016 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon Actors: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, James Franco, Bill Hader, Salma Hayek, Anders Holm, Nick Kroll, Danny McBride, Edward Norton, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Sugar Lyn Beard, David Krumholtz

 


 

E

very morning, the cheerful food products at Shopwell’s grocery store sing of the rapture that awaits should a customer purchase them. As the Fourth of July approaches, a pack of hotdogs – including Frank (Seth Rogen), Barry (Michael Cera), and Carl (Jonah Hill) – celebrate the inevitable sale that will hasten them off to the “Great Beyond” and unending bliss with their doughy counterparts. But when a shopper finally places them in her cart, a crazed bottle of returned honey mustard (Danny McBride) causes a collision that hurls Frank and his girlfriend Brenda Bunson (Kristen Wiig) onto the aisle floor. Desperate to return to their display stand, Frank and Brenda team up with Lavash (David Krumholtz) and Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) in order to navigate unfamiliar territory and evade both disposal by the cranky store manager and extermination by a vengeful hygiene product (Nick Kroll).

Like so many comedies – especially of the juvenile kind – the potency of the material is highly subjective. Some audiences will find themselves not wanting to laugh at the proceedings, while others will revel in the likeminded mentality of the ultimate group of stoner writers. But with no restraints on subject matter or offensiveness, and certainly no censorship of the coarse language and vulgarities, “Sausage Party” is, at times, incredibly difficult to dismiss. The more over-the-top it becomes, especially with a climax that is unimaginably outrageous, it must at least be given credit for its willingness to scoff at political correctness and the boundaries of good taste – all within the confines of a computer-animated environment.

It opens with a big musical number, ostensibly to generate a bitingly family-friendly veil (amplified by the cartoonish look, complete with Mickey Mouse-like, white-gloved hands) that is quickly tossed aside for unsubtle innuendo and double entendres about teabags, wieners, and buns. The film surely sets some sort of record for the most gags about penises and vaginas; this cast of anthropomorphized food items couldn’t be more salacious or perpetually aroused. They may be fruits and vegetables, or pastries, or even packaged items, but they never mince words when it comes to sexual predilections, as if every edible strives not just to pass into the Great Beyond, but also to copulate unendingly. “Sausage Party” is so overstuffed with sex jokes that it routinely overshadows the cleverer notions (like commentary on grocery stores and their employees, or the comparison of preparing food for consumption to the mutilative horrors of warfare), opting to gratify itself with edgier concepts of juice box genocide (and rape), a lesbian taco, or turning only certain inorganic objects (such as a douche or toilet paper, both targets for easy laughs) into living entities.

Despite the heavy-handedness with which motifs of religion, factions, drug culture, unwavering belief systems, and overt racism (among many other controversial topics) are approached, “Sausage Party” is still one of those see-it-to-believe-it sort of pictures, sporting visual jokes that are routinely as amusing as they are horrific or disgusting. Utilizing that most basic of storylines – an epic odyssey to discover some guarded truth about existence – the film becomes the anti-“Toy Story” or the anti-“Ratatouille,” populating a world in which food conducts secret lives unseen by humans (or, in an amusing reference to “Ratatouille,” the puppeteering/controlling of humans by simpler organisms). It’s crude, crass, raunchy, and irreverent. But it’s also hard not to laugh at a cartoon hot dog that just wants to get inside a cartoon bun.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10