“Sausage Party” Movie Revew


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     The producing duo of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg has always strived to push the envelope in story, dialogue, and creativity when it comes to their brand of raunchiness.  At times, their method works, as seen in films such as “Superbad”, “Pineapple Express”, and “This Is The End”.  But sometimes even the best and most talented filmmakers falter, with their controversial 2014 effort “The Interview” immediately coming to mind.  To say they have thought outside of the box with their latest foray into R-rated comedy would be an understatement, combining their talents with of all people directors Greg Tiernan (“Thomas & Friends) and Conrad Vernon (“Shrek 2”) to create an animated adventure called “Sausage Party”, which involves food in ways you’re likely to never forget.

     Countless animated films have been made about inanimate objects that come to life when humans leave the room, with Pixar’s “Toy Story” leading the way in overall popularity, but I have to say I have never experienced something quite like “Sausage Party” which features everything from hot dogs to tacos coming to colorful life in the after-hours of a local grocery store.  The concept isn’t necessarily original, and the filmmakers definitely have the pioneers at Pixar to thank for the template they utilize, but the script by Rogen, Goldberg, Kyle Hunter (“The Night Before”), and Ariel Shaffir (“The Night Before”) has a unique feel to it, especially considering the substantial voice talent behind every character that includes in addition to Rogen the likes of Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, and Edward Norton.

     The story centers around the belief of the various food items that when they are selected off the grocery store shelves by one of the customers, or human gods as they see them, they will go to a food utopia of sorts and in the process have lots of sex.  I didn’t stutter with that last bit.  “Sausage Party” is as dirty minded as any of the live action films these guys have made, and perhaps even more so, since the boundaries seem wider in an animated film about food.  One can’t help but be reminded of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s own raunch fest “Southpark: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut” when some of the opening dialogue has a hot dog named Frank (Rogen) describing to a hot dog bun named Brenda (Wiig) just how he plans on entering her when they arrive at the promised land.  Of course, all of this is a metaphor for a number of common beliefs in society.  Everything from the American Dream to what ever religion you place your faith in could be substituted for the ideals these characters live by.  And of course it’s not long before they realize the ugly truths behind their existence.

     When Frank and Brenda become separated due to an unforeseen accident that Vernon and Tiernan present as being their own version of the Invasion of Normandy as seen in “Saving Private Ryan”, Frank is led to another aisle in the store where the “non perishable” food is kept.  He soon learns what really happens to food when they leave the store, which is the obvious, but the reaction is what leads the story further into a scenario where Frank must convince those who believe in the utopia awaiting them is nothing more than what he deems as murder and death.  Problem is, you’re no more likely to have success in challenging one’s belief in God than Frank has at convincing the rest of the food in the store of his new found knowledge.

     One of the inherent problems with the kind of films Rogen and Goldberg are now churning out with regularity is how we’ve become numb to the filthy dialogue to the point where it’s just not funny anymore.  As a much younger person in 1999, I recall laughing literally to tears when “Southpark” graced the silver screen, but for some reason I couldn’t muster even a snicker while watching “Sausage Party”, even when the third act pushed the envelope on the anatomy of various food items and the way they can fit together in a state of bliss.  Since the profane dialogue didn’t exactly create many comedic moments, the fate of a film like this relies solely on the story it is trying to tell and the creativity used in telling it.  For that, “Sausage Party” excels, as it is one of the few films this Summer that seems to actually have something to say.  GRADE: B-