Starring Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Edward Norton, David Krumholtz, Nick Kroll, Selma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Craig Robinson, Scott Underwood, Paul Rudd, James Franco & Danny McBride
Directed by Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon
What the hell did I just watch?
Somewhere in Hollywood two childhood friends were enjoying a joint (not confirmed, but trust me when I say they had to be stoned to come up with this one). One turned to the other in a haze and asked about the concept of sentient food products. From that impetus it took them eight years of back-and-forth with film studios before the script was deemed acceptable, and I think it was the orgy that got them over the line.
Thus we have Sausage Party. If the name doesn’t give it away, this is not ninety minutes of high-brow jokes. One can be forgiven for assuming the worst of its potential, but time and time again the Rogen & Co. laugh factory have proven themselves to be the horse you should back. On the surface it’s a satirical pot-shot aimed at the family-friendly animated films that have dominated recently. It takes the standard premise of anthropomorphic beings growing as characters and imparting their lessons to its audience, then utterly massacres it with as many explicit references to sex, drugs and juvenile toilet humour as standards and practices will allow. It’s the real-world aspect of any animated film gone tawdry. People out there want to get wasted and screw around. Sausage Party simply acknowledges this and it’s a riot.
But underneath it diverges from simplistic parody. A film titled Sausage Party shouldn’t be layered, yet somehow they’ve managed that. The unnecessary amount of infantile material coexists with some quality social commentary; specifically the religious debate. There’s no bias, atheists and believers alike are on the receiving end, the only criticism is aimed towards blind faith. The characters are utterly convinced these assumed gods will lead them to salvation when, in actuality, they’re totally unaware of their own loyal subjects. They impose restrictions on themselves without warrant, and that’s where the sex analogy comes into play. It would be easy to have the film degrade itself with self-righteous criticism, but it all eventually devolves into the same old idiotic humour these guys are known for. Of course the film takes a time-out so the characters can get high. Not because there’s anything to be ascertained from this, it’s just funny watching a hot-dog smoke pot through a kazoo. Having the immature antics helps keep the societal critique in check.
What do you know, it’s not entirely perfect. The personalities applied to each food or product are ingenious and the stereotypes can be clever, such as the German sauerkraut and their hatred of juice, but then there’s a giant douche being a giant douche. There’s no longer any shock value and these tired tropes are well past their use-by-date (see what I did there?). It’s heavy on the puns and they grow tiresome when they’re relied on to keep the film afloat, but fortunately the beginning is killer, the ending is a great recovery and at it’s peak Sausage Party is a step above your standard comedic affair.
Just in case you’re wondering, you don’t need to see a supermarket wide sex orgy, but see it anyway because you just don’t know how you will react. One way or another it’s going to impact your life. I don’t know why, but it will.
P.S: fifty films reviewed!