Producers/Co-Writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are back with another raunchy comedy in Sausage Party. The key difference here is that Sausage Party is a computer-animated film. Will this signal an R-rated cartoon renaissance, or just be another blip on the box office landscape?
The film centers on the anthropomorphic food that lives at the Shopwell’s Supermarket. All the different kinds of food there have one desire above all else: to be selected by the gods (humans) to go to “The Great Beyond” (outside the store). A sausage named Frank (Rogen) has a little bit more on his mind. He too wants to go to the Great Beyond, but it’s more because that will allow him to finally join with his girlfriend, a hot dog bun named Brenda (Kristen Wiig). As Fourth of July approaches—or as the food refer to it, “Red, White, and Blue Day”—Frank and Brenda are lucky enough to get chosen by the same god. They will be together in the Great Beyond. However, trouble looms when a returned jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) reveals that the Great Beyond isn’t everything the residents of Shopwell’s think it is. There is a struggle and Frank and Brenda end up outside their packages as the god who selected them leaves with their friends. They find themselves on the other side of the store and must get back to their display and attempt to get into new packages. They are joined by Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton), Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholtz), and Teresa (Salma Hayek), the taco shell. As they journey, Frank begins to question the Great Beyond and the entire Shopwell’s faith structure. During his existential crisis, he must duck an aggressive Douche (Nick Kroll), who feels that Frank wronged him. Meanwhile, Frank’s friend, Barry (Michael Cera), works to get back to the store after finding out the truth about what happens to the food once they get home with the humans.
Sausage Party, directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, is a very funny movie. Yes, it is raunchy and yes, it can be sophomoric, but it is hilarious. The fact that it is so raunchy may turn many viewers off—the climactic scene puts a particular scene in Team America to shame in terms of vulgarity—but there is more here beneath the “dirty comedy” veneer. There is a decent argument made here against having blind faith or bigotry and instead cultivating an open mind. There are some very clever scenes in the film and I loved the structure of the food’s world in Shopwell’s and how it came to be. It’s a great reflection of today’s society and the problems many people have with accepting differences and how religious beliefs have been perverted by some. I also liked the switches to the humans’ point of view where the food becomes regular food again. The cuts happen at the perfect time, creating some very funny scenes. The overall story structure is a little weak, though, but that doesn’t diminish the film’s hilarity. I do wish we’d gotten a little bit more of Douche, as he’s a great villain.
The voice work here with everyone turning in some stellar performances. Rogen and Wiig do really well with their parts and I loved Hayek as Teresa the taco. She has some repressed feelings about Brenda and while you hate to see someone feel like they have to hide a part of themselves, the way Hayek delivers the lines makes Teresa’s struggle with her desires more adorable than heartbreaking. Bill Hader voices a few characters, but his best performance is as Firewater, a member of the Unperishables, a small group of foodstuffs that has its own agenda and secrets. My favorite character, though, was probably Nick Kroll as Douche. He was so funny and such a…well, douche. There are some cultural stereotypes played for laughs throughout, but they’re good-natured and are really leveled at all types of people, making this an equal opportunity jokefest.
Overall, Sausage Party is most definitely not for everyone. Even those who love raunchy comedies might be shocked at what happens in this one. But, believe me when I say, the film is super funny. If you’re feeling brave, check it out.