Various foodstuffs are shocked to discover that they're destined for deliciousness in Seth Rogen's delirious R-rated animated comedy, Sausage Party.
Sausage Party is an incredibly hard film to assess - there were a tornado of questions swirling through my head throughout this film. What the hell have I got myself in for, I pondered upon entering the darkened theatre. What were Columbia Pictures smoking when they handed over the budget for this film? How on Earth can I offer a serious appraisal of a film that is so inherently silly? How can I, an aspiring film critic, sit here and tell you in all seriousness that Seth Rogen gave a great performance as a frankfurter? Or that three-time Academy Award nominated actor Edward Norton makes a great bagel? Put simply - what the actual fuck?
Mark my words, Sausage Party is everything you'd expect and a whole lot more. It is without a doubt the silliest, crudest and most juvenile film that Hollywood has produced in recent memory. There are a cavalcade of moments in this film that will leave you dumbstruck, with "what the shit did I just watch?" undoubtedly becoming the prevailing thought echoing through your mind afterwards.
And yet, in spite of everything - it kind of works? I sort of dug it? I don't even know where to begin on this one, but that seems like a good place - that, despite being an unending avalanche of filth and lunacy, Sausage Party is actually a hugely fun time that oddly works, provided you're in the right frame of mind and know what you're getting yourself in for.
Firstly, the premise is straight-up ridiculous; Rogen plays Frank (ba-dum-tish!), a sausage that lives in a packet on a supermarket shelf with nine other sausages, including Barry (Michael Cera) and Carl (Jonah Hill). Sitting prettily alongside them are a packet of voluptuous hotdog buns including Frank's girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig). With the Fourth of July fast approaching, the produce throughout the store are eagerly awaiting their journey to the 'Great Beyond', which is when they're chosen by the Gods (in other words, purchased and taken home by customers).
However, when a distraught jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) is returned to the store, he brings with him horrible tales of the truth about the Great Beyond - that humans are actually hellbent on killing and eating everyone and everything in the supermarket that they can lay their hands on.
Like I said, totally ridiculous. Even the thought of walking, talking, breathing food is so maddeningly weird that Rogen and his regular collaborators must've been smoking some seriously juicy stuff when they dreamt up the screenplay for this one. However, with that said, if you can get past the novelty, Sausage Party actually has a whole lot to offer than just lots and lots of puns about sex and dicks (of which there are LOTS).
Firstly, the animation is great. It's inventive and distinctive, and the filmmakers are clearly relishing (pun intended) the opportunity to push the boundaries of what is possible through the form. Secondly, the voice acting is excellent across the board; Cera is particularly funny as plucky little sausage Barry, whilst Wiig and Bill Hader are probably the pick of the bunch as Brenda the bun and Firewhiskey respectively.
The screenplay dabbles in a bit of everything, mixing weird character moments (James Franco's druggie freaking out over talking food) with some half-baked, thinly-veiled commentary on the nature of religion.
No subculture escapes unharmed; barely 30 seconds have passed before we bear witness to Nazi-themed jars of mustard proclaiming their hatred of juice (seriously). Sammy, Norton's bagel character, and Lavash (David Krumholtz), an Middle-Eastern flatbread, frequently engage in heated debate about shelf space in the Western aisles (really subtle!) whilst a brief foray into an Old West tavern draws Salma Hayek's lusty taco into the picture.
Also, the film ends with a massive orgy. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at a hotdog the same way again.
The Verdict: 6.5/10
Still have a hunger for Sausage Party? Prepare to be weirded out by one of the craziest, most stomach churning fever dream films you've ever clapped eyes on. The premise is an uncomfortable mixture of sweet and sour, and not everyone will be able to stomach it, but if you've found Rogen's films palatable in the past, you'll probably devour Sausage Party. It's essentially Toy Story meets Pineapple Express - please adjust your expectations accordingly.
Sausage Party is in cinemas across Australia now