‘Sausage Party’ is the R-Rated ‘Inside Out’ a raunchy and witty animated comedy.
The raunchy, subversive comedy screened like an R-rated “Toy Story” set in a grocery set with baked (in more ways than one) goods and other edibles. Viewers are immersed into a world where food, beverages and sundry other items on supermarket shelves are sentient entities who yearn to selected by benevolent “giants” for transportation to the “promised land” they’ve long been promised.
Naturally, it will be very hard for parents to tell their young offspring who see trailers and TV spots that, yes, this is a cartoon, but, no, it most certainly is not kids’ stuff. (The MPAA folks haven’t officially rated it yet, but the movie was hyped as “the first R-rated CG animated Hollywood movie.”) Just as naturally, however, the allure of an animated feature that is nothing at all like any Pixar animated story will be impossible for many grown-ups — and most arrested adolescents — to resist.
“Sausage Party” is a type of Shavian style story in terms of its sophisticated dialogue — really, there is just so much novelty value one can milk from the repeated barrage of F-bombs thrown around by animated characters — but it is difficult to hide the hilarious value of a movie that is so rude and crude. Everything from racial, ethnic, sexual and sociopolitical stereotypes are used with intent, exaggerated and honed to satirical edges, such examples are: that a Jewish bagel (Edward Norton) and an Arabic flatbread (David Krumholtz) argue about territorial incursions in the shopping aisles; a lesbian taco (Salma Hayek) attempts to lure a reasonably straight innocent into a walk on the wild side; a mini sausage (Michael Cena) worries whether size really matters, is girth really is more important than length to women; and the most obnoxious character by far is … well, a douche (Nick Kroll). No, really.
The hero of this story is a sausage named Frank (Rogen), the most outspoken of the links in a package of sausages, who is waiting the happy day when he can nestle inside his neighborhood sexy hot dog bun (Kristen Wiig) and, ahem, cut the mustard. But the happy couple’s great expectations are upended by a shopping-cart collision displaces the two star-crossed lovers (and their foodie companions) and triggers a long after-shopping-hours journey turning, “Sausage Party” into an R-rated trek home. Filled with plenty of rude awakenings, inconvenient truths and, during an extended climax, what very likely is the first food-on-food polysexual orgy in film history. The movie features Disney-worthy voice performances (Mickey Mouse is going to have to scrub their mouths out with some heavy duty soap) by Salma Hayek, James Franco, Jonah Hill and Edward Norton, who channels Woody Allen’s New York Jewish timbre to portray a bagel.
Complications arise when Frank discovers the truth about what happens to edibles like himself once they’re carted out the door and taken home. And, more important, he learns that influential “non-perishables” have manufactured a mythos of a happily-ever-after afterlife just to keep the supermarket products from knowing anything about the nothingness that awaits them. Not at all surprisingly, those products don’t appreciate (or even believe) the bad news when Frank attempts to elevate their consciousness.
We all know that there are those of you who have dreams of Seth Rogen being made into a processed meat product — and you know who you are — “Sausage Party” may be savored as, if not a dream come true, a drug-fueled hallucination without the potentially harmful side effects.
“Sausage Party,” which is scheduled for a Aug. 11-12 release from Sony Pictures Entertainment, could be a sleeper hit of the summer.
(Animated) A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures presentation of a Point Grey Pictures production. Produced by Megan Ellison, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Conrad Vernon. Executive producers, Jonah Hill, James Weaver, Ariel Shaffir, Kyle Hunter.
Directed by Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan. Screenplay, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, from a story by Rogen, Goldberg, Jonah Hill. (Color); editors, Kevin Pavlovic; music, Alan Menken; art director, Kyle McQueen; sound, Tony Crowe; casting, Michael Donovan, Francine Maisler.
Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek.
Note: The film screened did not have closing credits, leaving an incomplete running time of approx. 85 minutes.