Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Sausage Party is the harrowing tale of the difference between the stories groceries tell themselves in the supermarket and what really happens to them when the ‘gods’ take them home.
Inside the abundant f-bombs and salacious humor, there are moments of nuanced thought and some scary depictions of human beings (all the more scary for being sorta kinda true).
Frank (Rogen), a hot dog and Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a bun, sit beside each other on a supermarket display for Red, White and Blue Day – the upcoming holiday that all groceries look forward to because it’s almost guaranteed that they will be taken, by the gods, to the Great Beyond – where life will be wonderful and, no longer being in packages, Frank and Brenda will be able to hook up.
Then, one day, a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) is returned and tells everyone what really goes on in the homes of the gods – and no one believes him!
But wait – non-perishable Firewater (Bill Hader) tells the truth-seeking Frank that Honey Mustard was not wrong and that he and his friends and fellow non-perishables Twinkie, Twink (Scott Underwood) and Grits (Craig Robinson) created the song/hymn the groceries sing each morning so that they wouldn’t know the truth and live in fear.
James Franco voices a druggie who, on bath salts, discovers the world that Frank and Brenda live in – and gives Frank proof that Honey Mustard was right – but only Frank and a handful of veggies – and a wad of Stephen Hawkins-like gum, are there to witness it.
There are a lot of R-rated hijinks here – the two-and-a-half minute food orgy that has been mentioned in every Seth Rogen interview is the acme of them – and more f-bombs (in all its permutations) than in any other movie Rogen has been affiliated with, but behind the various peculiarities of the film, there’s a subtle argument about the existence of God – and religion, and a less subtle argument for putting an end to any and all forms of discrimination.
A sequence in which the perishables fight back is almost as funny as the orgy and, though the humor over the rest of the film might not equal those two sequences for sheer lunatic go for it hilarity, there’s plenty to entertain while an equal amount to make us think (whether we realise it or not).
The CG animation isn’t Pixar, DreamWorks or even Illumination-level quality, but it’s very good and really does provide the film’s characters with believable lives.
The direction, by Greg Tiernan (Thomas and Friends) and Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2, Madagascar 3), is pretty much full tilt gonzo – with a few character moments that let us catch our collective breath. The design is simple but effective and the soundtrack is seriously demented.
Even the villainous (and literal) douche (Nick Kroll) with a fixation on Brenda works really well.
Final Grade: B+