Movie Review: Sausage Party

Loud Feedback Movie Review: Sausage Party

Sausage Party Is A Value-Pak Of R-Rated Humor, And It’s Smarter Than You Think

By Jeff Feuerhaken

The early buzz on Sausage Party, the new animated comedy from the minds of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jonah Hill, among others, was that it was a raunchy subversion of the tried and true Pixar formula, but with food characters as the stand-ins to represent the human experience . Whispers from the South By Southwest festival in Austin, TX where the film was first shown to audiences, were that it was successful and hilarious. Judging by these little tidbits, aside from the fact that the film had garnered a healthy Rotten Tomatoes score before its wide release, I figured I could count on a silly, filthy, and likely juvenile riff on the Pixar corner of the film market. And in these respects, I was not disappointed in the least. What I did not anticipate, however, was that Sausage Party is also surprisingly smart, and it has something effective to say on such heavy issues as faith and equality, something I was not expecting in a film about potty-mouthed sausage links.

Chief Firewater gets baked.

Chief Firewater gets baked.

The majority of the film’s running time is spent in the various aisles of a neighborhood grocery store, with the store itself serving as a metaphor for the world we live in, or at least our view of it. The different sections in the store correspond to all the different corners of the globe, along with the differing cultures that help define them. The film masterfully defines how all the store’s various inhabitants collectively see their world through an opening musical number, an ode to “the great beyond” that exists outside the grocery store’s automatic doors. The characters’ obsession of what lies beyond is a mirror for how we humans deal with issues of faith, religion, and atheism. When circumstances result in a certain character being returned to the store, he shares the horrible reality of his experiences in the great beyond, sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of his compadres. It is with this setup that our main protagonists, Frank (Seth Rogen) and Brenda (Kristen Wiig) experience their adventure, trying to find a way to help their friend Barry (Michael Cera), who, after being purchased for a 4th of July BBQ, now faces the dangers of the great beyond. In the course of their adventures, Frank and Brenda must also contend with the villainous Douche (Nick Kroll), a meathead stereotype bent on revenge on those who accidentally kept him from reaching the “great beyond”. Kroll’s Douche is hilarious, and fans of Parks & Recreation might recall that this isn’t the first time Kroll has played a character named Douche. The rest of the cast, which seems like it includes pretty much anyone who’s ever been in a comedy movie, does a generally fantastic job as well. Some of the voices are so unrecognizable that you may be surprised to find out which actor you’re hearing (I’m looking at you, Edward Norton).

"Come at me, bro!" The Douce abides....

“Come at me, bro!” The Douce abides….

As you can expect, hijinks ensue, often accompanied by suggestive one-liners and sexual innuendo. The comedy contained throughout the film isn’t necessarily hitting on all cylinders 100% of the time. Manyt of jokes just aren’t that funny, and a good number of them fall a hair south of juvenile, so I wouldn’t advise going to see Sausage Party expecting the funniest movie you’ve ever seen. There is a certain sequence at the film’s climax, however, that just might be the most outrageous (and just plain wrong) thing I’ve ever seen committed to screen. It would be downright evil to spoil this scene by explaining it, but I will say that it had most the theater I was in completely losing it. I can’t lie, I personally haven’t seen anything that funny in quite some time. The film’s final moments deliver another interesting twist similar to that seen in The Lego Movie, and even this little bonus twist is amusing and satisfying. For all the gross out humor featured in this film, however, I have to admit that the story got me thinking. Deeply. It’s an allegory for what we all think life is, how we personally define it, and how our definition shapes our behavior. For an R-rated animated comedy from Seth Rogen and crew called Sausage Party, this exhibition of depth is no small feat. It truly is an adult version of a Pixar movie, and it emphatically succeeds in what it sets out to do. I recommend it to anyone (18 or older) who found the premise to be even slightly intriguing. As interesting as this premise it, it is the execution that is most solid, and for that I have to give this silly film full props.

Score: 7/8 stars

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