Have you ever wondered what a Pixar film might look like if it were conceived by a group of foul-mouthed stoners, late at night, after they just completed a Monty Python marathon? That’s Sausage Party. A Toy Story-esque spoof, where food comes to life with dreams of reaching “the great beyond”. That is, if the gods will allow it.
Part religious commentary, part social allegory, all parts offensive, Sausage Party comes from the same minds that brought us Super Bad, This Is The End and Pineapple Express, so you should have a pretty clear indication from the get-go what you’re signing yourself up for. It’s also directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, both of whom have spent much of their careers animating children’s shows and films, including Thomas the Tank Engine. Let that last sentence sink in for a moment.
The story is almost a non-event and it’s forcing me to write sentences I never imagined I would scribe. An anthropomorphic and sexually-charged sausage (Seth Rogen) wants to leave the grocery store to finally consummate his love for a hot-dog bun (Kristen Wiig). The lunacy continues when a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) returns from the great beyond and spills the beans on the dogmatic lies they’ve been told. The gods aren’t benevolent. They’re evil and they want to kill us all.
Sounding a little controversial? You have no idea.
No subject matter is taboo as every gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and political opinion is aggressively mocked and parodied. If you’re easy offended, you need to avoid this film. This is the most politically incorrect mainstream animation release since Team America: World Police.
Sausage Party follows the battle-worn recipe that Pixar has made into an art, but it struggles to get much narrative mileage out of its potty-mouthed-food-suffering-an-existential-crisis concept.
The jokes and food-puns are funny, but they’re also inconsistent and patchy. While some scenes stretch and lag, there are a number of key moments and gags where the insanity meets genuine creative ingenuity, to deliver some of the hardest laughs you’re likely to experience in a theatre this year.
One standout scene re-enacts the infamous Normandy Beach assault from Saving Private Ryan, after two shopping carts collide spilling food and other household items all over the store floor. An exploding flour bag adds an ashen warzone aesthetic to the battle ground, as graphically wounded bananas, spreads and cookies scream in agony. It’s as stupid as it terrific.
And as for that finale? The less you know about it the better, but you’ll either run for the hills or die of laughter in the theatres. Either way: you’ll want a shower. It goes there in ways we haven’t seen since Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. You simply cannot un-see those final 10 minutes. It’s absolutely bonkers.
The animation is fine, but it’s clearly scaled back budgetary work that pales in comparison to the big players. It’s adequate. Not spectacular.
At 88 minutes of screen time, the raunchy, audacious and wildly crass Sausage Party achieves its core goal before completely outstaying its welcome; although Nick Kroll’s villainous Douche character certainly did. His one-note character arc did nothing but irritate and annoy.
One thing is for certain: you’ll never be able to look at your food in the same light again.