CGI has taken animated film to no small amount of new places. But it took Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg to give birth to the concept for the first R-Rated animated spectacle. Sausage Party is an insane, star-studded portrait of a sausage who goes on a quest to discover the truth of what happens to food when it leaves the grocery store — and also to score with his girlfriend, a bun from the bag next door.
If you’re easily offended or disturbed by the idea of food sex, stay home. However, if you’re willing to join Rogen and his merry band of maniacs for a trip so bizarre you won’t be able to help but react audibly (and I’m not talking laughter, though there will be plenty of that) on a number of occasions, Sausage Party will be the most original effort you see in theaters this summer. Come for the boundary-pushing, “did they just do that?” humor, it’s fun, but stay for the sneaky thread of smarts and social commentary lurking beneath that filthy, vibrant surface.
Seth Rogen and Kristin Wiig lead the cast as Frank and Brenda, a starry-eyed couple who prey to the Gods (aka grocery shopping humans) to be chosen to go to the Great Beyond together — so that they can finally enjoy each other’s company outside of their respective packaging. They are joined by an A-list roster of comedic voices including Michael Cera, Anders Holm and Jonah Hill as fellow sausages; Danny McBride as a bottle of honey mustard who has seen things; Craig Robinson as grits; Edward Norton as a bagel; David Krumholtz as a lavash; Selma Hayek as a taco; Bill Hader as a number of alcoholic spirits; James Franco as a stoner, and Nick Kroll as a douche (in the product and personality sense of the term).
As you’ve likely gathered from that selection of the sprawling cast, Sausage Party is a picture that covers a lot of ground in 89-minutes. And while the shock-and-awe humor is effective, even triumphant, it is the understated elements that I keep mulling over and over again. The visual gags in the background are so voluminous it is impossible to process all of them in the first viewing, and the social commentary underneath the varied cast of characters is so clever as to almost feel insightful.
But for all that, I think Sausage Party is best left as much a surprise as possible. I spent most of the movie completely bewildered as to where we could be possibly be going. It’s vanishingly rare sensation that alone justifies the price of admission, but there is plenty more to discover in this little piece of hedonistic animated anarchy.
Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Writers: Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (screenplay), Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill (story)
Runtime: 89 minutes
Rating: The Hardest of Rs
All images courtesy: Sony Pictures
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