There’s no doubt that Sausage Party was conceived in a haze of marijuana smoke. That’s just the kind of atmosphere that would inspire talk of food that was alive and unaware of the horrible fate that awaited it once it left the grocery store. There’s also no doubt about what kind of film you’re going to get from the minds of guys like Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Together with writers Ariel Shaffir and Kyle Hunter, Sausage Party is overflowing with cursing, sex jokes, borderline racist, sexist and homophobic material, and some shots at religion in general. Basically it’s everything you would expect from these guys, which is going to work perfectly with their fans. Fortunately, I happen to be one of those fans.
The film follows the adventures of Frank (Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig). Frank is a hot dog and Brenda is a bun. They sit next to each other on the shelf of a grocery store, waiting for one of the gods (that would be the human shoppers) to pick them up and take them to the great beyond. Frank and Brenda are madly in love, and can’t wait to get to the great beyond so they can finally leave their packages and be together. They don’t realize what happens to them once they’re outside of the grocery store though, and when a jar of honey mustard is returned to the store in a frantic state, Frank starts to find out that the great beyond isn’t the joyous experience everybody thinks it is.
After an accident leaves Frank, Brenda, and Douche (Nick Kroll in an absolutely hilarious role) trapped in the store while their friends get to go to the great beyond, Frank decides to figure out what’s really happening outside of the store. Brenda has faith that everything is beautiful in the great beyond, but Frank isn’t so sure. Douche just happens to be angry that Frank has prevented him from getting to go home with the attractive woman that purchased him, and he decides he’s got to kill Frank and Brenda.
Sausage Party is really just a very simplistic, although logical depending on your personal beliefs, look at the function of religion. Brenda is a believer. Frank would basically be an agnostic with a streak of atheist in him. The reality is what we’ve all seen in the trailers. The humans are eating the food. The food just doesn’t really know that yet. Frank and Brenda start travelling through the grocery store trying to get back to their rack in time to be purchased, but Frank starts to search for the truth of their lives. This connects them with a Woody Allen sounding bagel named Sammy (Edward Norton) and his rival Lavash (David Krumholtz). Together, they start to find out what lies outside of the store, and it’s not pretty.
While this group searches the grocery store, Frank’s friends from the pack of hot dogs, including Michael Cera as the small and stubby Barry, face the brutal truth in a scene straight out of a horror film. It’s like an incredibly dark version of Woody winding up in Sid’s house in Toy Story. Food is chopped, sliced, fried, boiled and chewed while Barry and his friends scream in terror. It’s hilarious and gory in a food chopping kind of way.
The film is just a stream of food and sex puns, a series of horrific food deaths, and some all too easy shots at religion and its absurdity from the viewpoint of an atheist. It all ends with an out of control food orgy that will leave some viewers howling with laughter and others heading for the exit. Of course, this is a film from the minds behind Pineapple Express and This is the End. What was everybody expecting to find?
If there is an obvious joke to be made, Sausage Party will make it. If you associate a food with a particular ethnic group, they’ll be the stereotype for that culture. Craig Robinson shows up as a box of grits named Grits. Salma Hayek is Teresa, the lesbian taco. A Twinkie named Twink (Scott Underwood) is exactly what you would think he is, while all the sauerkraut in the store is looking to get rid of the juice. If it’s inappropriate, you’ll probably find it in here.
If you enjoy that kind of humour, and have loved films like This is the End, you’ll enjoy Sausage Party though. It’s the same thing, but in animated form. You could look at the portrayal of religion as some sort of deeper meaning for the film, but that’s probably overthinking it. It’s all too easy to really mean anything, and you certainly won’t be discussing the deeper issues after a screening.
Honestly, we’ve seen the best parts of the film in the trailers. Obviously we get to see a lot more of those scenes, and they’re just as entertaining as they looked in the trailer, so you know what you’re going to get with this one. There are a few surprises along the way, one that was actually shockingly funny, so there’s still enough to make it worth watching. This really isn’t a hard sell. The creative team and the trailers told you all you needed to know. If you thought the trailers were great, you’ll enjoy the film even more.