Sausage Party. How do I review thee? Because I have no freaking clue. I keep finding myself frozen and staring past my screen thanks to my new food-centric post-traumatic stress disorder.
Perhaps it’s best to start with a plot synopsis. You see, there’s these sausages, a hotdog bun that looks disturbingly like a blow-up doll, a lesbian taco, a douche (literally), a warring lavash and bagel from the Middle East, and a bunch of other supermarket products given the anthropomorphic treatment. They talk, they walk around, they get high and they have sex.
In case you haven’t realised it, animated movie Sausage Party is definitely ADULTS ONLY, so don’t be those parents. Alternatively, don’t let others around you be those parents – you know, the kind who instantly associate animation with kids’ entertainment, and proceed to let their children watch Sausage Party unvetted.
But back to the story. The groceries in Sausage Party have spent their lives looking forward to the day the Gods (us humans) will choose them and take them home to be cared for forever. When a select few learn the horrible truth about what happens outside the supermarket, they have to fight for their lives.
The DVD for Sausage Party includes about twenty minutes of special features, including The Booth. This segment looks at the process of recording the film’s vocal performances. Seth Rogan co-produced, wrote and “stars” in Sausage Party, and the Hollywood funnyman managed to recruit such comedians for the project as Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader and Paul Rudd; not to mention James Franco, Edward Norton and Salma Hayek. Why The Booth’s behind-the-scenes glimpse is relevant is that it shows Rogan and his buddies joking around, and incorporating a lot of ad-libbed content into the script.
That is exactly what Sausage Party feels like: a bunch of famous friends getting together, messing around and squeezing out an animated, plot-lite stoner comedy as the result.
If you enjoy that sort of thing – think Pineapple Express and This is The End –you’ll probably enjoy Sausage Party. If you have an aversion to crude, foul-mouthed content that’s evidently been made solely to push the limits of taste, then give it a skip.
To be fair, there are some genuine laughs to be found in Sausage Party, much like stumbling on bargains while you’re aimlessly browsing a supermarket aisle. Typically you’ll be responding to the audacity onscreen. For example, if your sense of humour skews towards the pitch black, the cooking scenes should produce a malicious chortle. A sequence with a druggie high on bath salts is also entertaining.
It’s just that overall, if you compare Sausage Party to something similar, like Team America: World Police, it doesn’t really hold up. Coming from South Park’s Matt Parker and Trey Stone, Team America was immensely quotable, and sharp-witted beneath the crudity. Some clever set design aside, Sausage Party is a limp vienna. It’s obvious in terms of its shock humour. Well, apart from its ending, which goes where no movie has ever gone before. For better or worse.
Sausage Party was well-received critically and commercially when it released last year. However, it has been made for a very specific audience that delights in tasteless jokes. That may be you, or it may not. I suspect that even if it is, though, you’ll be put off by either the overkill ending, or lack of substance beneath the politically incorrectness and vulgarity.