Film Review: Sausage Party

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

Despite the success of adult orientated animation on the small screen, Hollywood has been less ready to dip it’s toe into feature length animation geared for grown ups. There have been a few attempts, but a 15 rated animated film is still a rarity. The trailers looked fun so MWF and I joined a friend and went to check out Sausage Party.

This, co-written by star Seth Rogen starts off with a simple, Pixar like premise “what if food in the supermarket had feelings” but then takes it in a far more darker direction. All the produce view humans as their gods and dream of being chosen to go to the “great beyond” outside their home in Shopwell’s supermarket.
Hot dog Frank (Rogen) and bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig) develop an attraction and want to be together, hoping to be getting selected together. The relationship between dogs and buns is leant a sexual element.

Frank and Brenda

In the run up to Independence Day a jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned and appears traumatised by what he saw on the outside, ranting that the “gods” are evil. When he is chosen again, alongside Frank and Brenda, he freaks out and tries to kill himself. Frank leaves his packaging to save him, followed by Brenda. In the confusion that follows both fall from the trolley, along with other products who are damaged in the chaos.
Lost in the store they try to get home although Frank is troubled by what Honey Mustard saidand begins questioning what is really going on. One of the other products that fell from the cart is Douche (Nick Kroll) an obnoxious feminine hygiene product (obviously) who blames Frank for his being discarded and damaged. Seeking revenge he begins drinking other products becoming stronger as a result.

Meanwhile, Frank’s friends Carl (Jonah Hill) and Barry (Michael Cera) have been taken home and witness the other products being cooked and eaten, horrified by what they see. Barry escapes and decides to head back to the store where things were better.

Can Barry get back? Will Frank work out what really happens in the great beyond? And if he does how will he change things?

As the premise tells you this is an incredibly silly film, and rather stupid. The film keeps the jokes coming quick and fast, and I laughed a fair few times but it doesn’t quite work. While the premise is clever there’s not enough there for a full length movie, as a short it might work but here it’s laboured and some of the jokes are worked to death.

Take Brenda and Frank’s companions on their journey Sammy Bagel Jr (Edward Norton) and Lavash (David Krumholtz). Both are stereotypes, a Woody Allen-like Jew and an angry Arabic character. While the initial gag about the Israel style situation between the two is funny, it drags on far too long and the continuing stereotypes feel lazy and old fashioned.

There are some parts that work though. A running joke about puns is quite well done especially when they acknowledge how laboured some of them are. It’s also quite clever in the way that it cuts between the human view of the world which is drabber and the colourful world of the products where they have facial features and so on.

The human version of events

It’s also quite a funny sequence where a stoner (James Franco) pierces the veil between the two worlds while tripping.

There are some quite dark moments as the film unfolds particularly when the products declare war on the humans, and it’s kinda jarring. And the attempts to go for a deeper subtext of talking about faith, acceptance and finding what people have in common, but it never really goes deep into anything and most importantly the characters don’t engage you fully. Without forming a connection with the players it’s hard to care and leaves this as a series of vulgarity and OTT moments which after a while lose their charm.

While it delivers some laughs it feels kinda like a bunch of teenagers trying to be as shocking as possible, and while they probably enjoyed it’s very messy, particularly a food orgy at the end which goes on far too long. It’s self indulgent and could have done with some trimming, which for a film that doesn’t even reach an hour and a half is quite damning.

Most telling is that it’s a day later and I don’t remember a single line. It’s a pity as I usually like Rogen’s stuff and this boasts an impressive cast, but it all feels a bit of a waste.

Verdict: There are enough laughs along the way but it feels flat and self-indulgent. They obviously had fun making it, but it doesn’t quite translate and it loses it’s way. I laughed but it gets old doesn’t have a lasting impact. 5/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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