It’s a wonder why this hasn’t been done before. Not the talking food thing, mind you, but the adult-targeted CG-animated feature. Sausage Party, co-written and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, known for This Is the End and The Interview, is hilarious, inventive and flat-out entertaining, and it could very well be a gamer-changer.
Sausage Party kicks off in high gear, offering up a big, wonderfully produced musical number introducing us to the oh-so happy foods and products populating the aisles of a Shopwell’s supermarket. The population believes that the Gods (humans) take the chosen ones to “The Great Beyond,” where it’s undoubtedly heavenly. A series of events leads Frank (Rogen), a sausage, to find that all is not as it seems. That’s right, turns out these Gods are purely diabolical.
From the get-go you’re aware that this is by no means a children’s film. Profanities fly every which way right from the start, which feels somewhat jarring at first, before the novelty quickly wears off to become the norm. Quips and in-your-face innuendo are fired in rapid-fire succession, which could very well fly over heads or simply come across as desperate, but the screenplay exudes confidence, comfortable enough in its own crude creation to sit back and let you ride it until… sorry, the film has a certain influence.
It’s a great premise, and one Rogen, Goldberg, co-writers Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, and directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon juice for all its worth. Make no mistake, this is extraordinarily crude stuff. Jaws will drop as these lovingly crafted characters, visually akin to some of Pixar’s creations, are put through some truly insane, profane, and side-splittingly hilarious scenarios. The best moments are the ones that catch you completely unawares, so I’ll leave descriptions by the wayside. Indeed, Sausage Party is very funny, but your agreement with that statement will no doubt come down to personal taste, and how much of it you’re willing to let in before sensitivity levels have you pushing away… again, sorry.
The craziness is amped up by the film’s truly impressive animation. This is no half-cooked attempt to look like a CG-animated blockbuster, this is just that. A mix of nods to animation studios such as Pixar and boasting a style all of its own, Sausage Party benefits greatly from the clear love and work that has gone into every frame. Kudos must go to the financial heads at the back end that decided to bank on not only crafting a CG-animated film with arguably risky content, but to ensure it stands proudly as a good-looking, big-screen release as well.
The film boasts one hell of a strong comedic cast providing voice work. Joining Rogen is Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, James Franco, and Salma Hayek, among many others. They’re all great, although the standouts have to be Kristen Wiig, who puts in great work as the voice of our lead female character, Brenda (a bun); Michael Cera, whose half-sized sausage, Barry, proves to be one of the film’s best characters; and Edward Norton, who is clearly having a ton of fun as the voice of… well, you’ll see.
What makes Sausage Party ultimately work is its focus on plot, which moves along at a nice pace and thankfully doesn’t hold onto one scenario for too long. That being said, some plot points are structured around certain political and social ideologies, which is of course completely fine, but a few protest-driven ideas are slammed home a little too hard. When it comes to the film’s approach to its messages, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, the ‘love is love’ elements in the plot are nicely conveyed and come with often hilarious punchlines, but then other factors, such as the argument that certain religious ideologies can be dangerous and questioning whether God exists, come across as ironically preachy. Again, whether the film’s food-for-thought moments work well will come down to personal preferences.
All in all, the film holds an infectious, fun tone, and it flows along wonderfully on a hugely entertaining and inventive narrative. The unapologetically crude humour will either do it for you or it won’t, but if it does, and it did for this critic, you’re going to be in for one hell of a good time. Inevitably, a film pumping this many jokes at you every minute means that not every one will hit the spot, but by the time that ‘I can’t believe what I’m watching’ climax comes at you, you’ll be left more than satisfied. Stamina not withstanding, you may even want to hit it twice. Yeah, not sorry.
Sausage Party is a treat.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10