UK Release Date: 2nd September 2016
Runtime: 89 minutes
Director: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir
Starring: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Nick Kroll, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, David Krumholtz, Paul Rudd
Synopsis: Food in a supermarket can’t wait to be bought by humans and taken into the Great Beyond, without realising that they will be brutally eaten alive by their new owners.
Occasionally, a film comes out that is so unusual that it simply demands to be seen. The work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, whether it’s the South Park movie or the incomparable Team America: World Police, is a clear example of the kind of bizarre filth that was spoken about in hushed tones in playgrounds all over the world. The latest movie to occupy that kind of cult space is Sausage Party, which is a distinctly adult animated movie with a blackly comedic heart, a liberal attitude to food-on-food sexuality and a surprisingly rich vein of religious allegory. But mainly, it’s smut of the most delightful kind.
Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage, and hot dog bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig) can’t wait to be bought from their supermarket and taken by humans into the Great Beyond outside the shop doors, away from the Dark Lord (Paul Rudd), who runs the store. A renegade food item reveals that the Great Beyond is a lie and soon Frank and Brenda find themselves on the run with Middle Eastern lavash bread Kareem (David Krumholtz) and Sammy Bagel Jr (Edward Norton), who is Jewish. Together, they try to get back to their shelves, whilst uncovering the conspiracy at the heart of their existence. The entire time, they are pursued through the aisles by an evil douche (Nick Kroll) – literally.
It’s tough to evaluate exactly whether Sausage Party works, given how brashly and brazenly original it is. This is a film that refuses to abide by any agreed notions of genre and instead pushes boundaries as much as it possibly can. No one is safe from the barbs of the script, which heavily critiques everyone from devout religious types to angry atheists, as well as everyone in between. It’s particularly impressive how deep and complex a take on the Israel-Palestine conflict the film is able to create using the fractured, but ultimately rather poignant, relationship between a bagel and a flatbread.
The writers of Sausage Party deserve all of the credit in the world for their desire to push boundaries. This is an animated comedy packed with crude humour that is ruthlessly inventive, although it does suffer from the unfortunately mandatory “getting high” scene that adds very little in the way of laughter. Particular praise must go to the sheer audacious writing of a certain final scene – if you’ve seen it, you’ll know the one – in which the physicality of food gets taken to hitherto unseen levels. It’s not big and it’s not clever, but it’s about as creative as it gets.
Sausage Party is an enormous cacophony of ideas from start to finish, throwing absolutely everything at the screen. Most of it sticks and, when stuff doesn’t work, there’s always something new on the way afterwards. Nick Kroll’s douche character, for instance, is a bizarre joke that is never quite as funny as the script thinks it is, but the script is never far away from Salma Hayek as a lesbian taco or a visual gag involving Meat Loaf that is as funny as anything in cinema this year.
Above all else, though, Sausage Party is a film that demands to be experienced. It’s tough to sum up through the prism of a review because it simply defies categorisation and genre. There’s no way I can do justice to what this film does because it’s simply a delightfully daring and beautifully brave idea that is executed with a sense of anarchy and fun that ensures it never feels nasty, even though it is served with an enormous pinch of comedic spice.
Pop or Poop?
Great voice performances and joyous filth make Sausage Party one of the funniest movies of the year. It’s a truly brave, subversive film that has plenty to say about the nature of belief and also offers a wry look at animated cinema itself. It’s smutty, silly and not afraid of going for the cheap laugh but, when it goes for the comedic jugular, it’s absolutely razor sharp.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.