Sausage Party (2016)
Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Let's get this out of the way, immediately: Sausage Party is an animated comedy, but in no capacity should you take or allow your children to see it. The movie is hilarious... but vulgar...
Sausage Party tells the story of Frank, a sausage, and some of his friends and acquaintances who live together in a grocery store called Shopwell's. Frank and all of his buddies believe that humans are gods and that outside of the store is their heavenly afterlife. On the 3rd of July one of the gods returns a jar of honey mustard to Shopwell's. Needless to say, this jar is freaked the fuck out about what he's seen happening to all of these foods. As Frank and his fellow hot dogs, along with some buns and other foods, are on the way to be purchased, Honey Mustard starts freaking out. Unfortunately, Frank listens. Frank and some of his acquaintances, including his girlfriend/hot dog bun, Brenda Bunson, fall out of their packages and out of the shopping cart. Frank believes Honey Mustard, the others just want to get back into some packages and go to the Great Beyond. Naturally, they end up on a journey to find out if Honey Mustard told the truth or not.
Frank and co. are a surprisingly ample comedic medium, allowing far more thought-provoking material than I'd have thought possible. The story that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill, et al have churned out may follow their familiar brand of vulgar humor containing a heaping pile of sex jokes, witty and realistic dialogue, puns, drug jokes, and more. But, while the story may be more cookie cutter, and follow some of the popular trends like breaking out into song and dance, Rogen and friends actually turn up the funny factor. They infuse Sausage Party with a steady stream of escalating ridiculousness that's hilarious to see. The running gags and inherent sexuality are stunning. The movie feels like something that the group thought up in high school and then kept with them as they grew up, evolving it into something more grown up and relatable. It's more than Toy Story with food, capturing an increasing amount of political posturing I never would've expected from a movie like this. That, plus all of the food porn, is exactly what I mean when I say this is for adults.
Hidden under the racist depictions is an earnest social commentary that's refreshing...
Despite the increasingly sexual double entendres, lesbian tacos, and villainous douche (literally) Sausage Party may be the most mature, grown up effort from Rogen and co, so much so that Megan Ellison, of Zero Dark Thirty and Her fame, produced the film with them. Hidden under the racist depictions is an earnest social commentary that's refreshing after so many slow-mo shots of weed smoke from the same group. And it isn't so much that they infuse the story with a deep revelation about how stupid war is or that we should all be vegan or that jet fuel can't melt steal beams, it's much more simple than that, the kind of simple that works with an animated douche ripping open a juice box's crotch to suck his juices out but grown up enough to be surprisingly adroit in the context of a Middle Eastern lavash arguing with a Jewish bagel or a package of grits complaining about how crackers stole his spot in the aisle. Food actually manages to bring commentary on all kinds of issues.
The story itself isn't very spectacular: the hero learns a frightening truth and has to convince his people of it before they're all eaten, then uses bath salts against the gods in a bid for freedom as the foods rise up in revolt, cuminating in a massive, all-hands-on-deck orgy that includes a bagel diddling a lavash's scrotum. Completely cookie cutter.
Other aspects of the film are mostly average. The acting is alright, the animation is nothing original, and the soundtrack is enough. The characterization is fairly standard, especially given the generic and racist overtones. No boundaries are being broken here but the generic characters work to the plot-driven story. Without needing so much depth or background for the foods, Sausage Party is free to focus on the puns, romance, and making each character different enough to be recognizable.
But the best thing about Sausage Party is that it really doesn't give a fuck. It's like the writers/production just said, "Fuck it, we're making a movie about everything in a grocery store wanting to fuck each other, we might as well just pull out the stops and make this movie exactly how we want." And pull out, they did.
The result is hilarious. Non-stop puns and food jokes, that's my kinda movie. And wrapping it up in a truth-finding story where a bottle of liquor is the all-knowing source of wisdom, baby carrots are called children, and having a dance routine be evil is just perfect. In fact, some sequences are perfect storms of references, like a shell-shocked war scene in the wake of a bag of flour exploding or [Jewish] Sammy Bagel, Jr. acting exactly like Woody Allen.
It's not perfect. There's some glaring problems and minor annoyances but in the end it's funny. I mean that literally. The ending is funny.
TL;DR: I walked into this movie with low expectations. I knew there'd be vulgarity, and I thought the story would be mediocre, but I wasn't prepared for how funny I would actually find Sausage Party. The jokes land. The imagery is funny. The situations are comedic. If you don't like dirty humor then this movie isn't for you. But if you do like it... this'll be perfect.
- Acting – 5 / 10
- Story – 5 / 10
- Cinematography – 5 / 10
- Soundtrack – 5 / 10
- Entertainment Factor – 15 / 20
- Comedy – 16 / 20
- Other – 15 / 20