After watching this raunchy animated feature, you may never put another wiener in your mouth again.
Seth Rogen has made a career from crafting boundary pushing comedies that still contain heart. While some of his films are more successful than others at pulling this off, “Sausage Party” may be his Magnum Opus. It achieves new highs and lows in this genre and does so in animated form. Without doubt, those attending this cartoon will see things they’ve never seen before. (and perhaps wish they hadn’t.)
The cliche of animated films ending on a musical number has become the tired sign of a lousy toon. Fifteen years ago it was great when your favorite green ogres spontaneously broke into song and dance! But these days, it’s usually the last wheeze of a thread-bare franchise. “Sausage Party” pulls a switch-a-roo and begins with a song and dance number! And oh, what a song it is. This anthem of the supermarket, “Dear God’s,” quickly baptizes you in the lore of the story, and prepares you for the filth that is coming. To the merchandise of the store, humans are gods that choose the freshest (i.e. morally undefiled) to take with them into the great beyond. The great beyond is believed to be a heaven of sorts, where everyone is rewarded and allowed to finally act on their desires. For example, it’s a mortal sin for a hot dog to enter a bun prior to being taken to the Great Beyond. This cheerful song has some very dark undertones though, as certain food aisles have specific lyrics with conflicting dogmas on how things should be and which cuisines are superior to others. (Sound familiar?)
When a condiment is returned from the great beyond, everyone quickly jumps him for answers, but this jar of Honey Mustard(Danny McBride) is clearly suffering from PTSD. His attempts to warn others are brushed off as lunacy. “Everyone knows Honey Mustard is weird!” An accident happens and soon the faith of Frank (Seth Rogen) and Brenda (Kristen Wiig) is rocked to its core. Are they being punished by the gods for touching tips before they should have? Or is their entire belief system a lie, fabricated to keep everyone in line? Doubts and sadness are shamed in their culture, and characters are even encouraged to “be happy, ignore your bad feelings.”
Often the best way to address deep subjects, especially those which can quickly trigger an angry response, is through non-direct mediums. Quality science fiction has been addressing existential questions since the late 1800s. “Sausage Party” takes a decidedly less cerebral and much more transparent route. Filled to the brim with constant sexual innuendos (both spoken and visual), incessant f-bombs, and packed shelf-to-shelf with blatant racial stereotypes, it’s certainly an equal-opportunity-offender. If you are open minded enough to get past all of that, the film’s biggest problem is the lull that hits around the 2/3rds mark. Some bland storytelling is required to reunite various characters, and the razor wit seems to dull a bit. Thankfully, the final climax more than makes up for this lull, and we become thankful for the brief respite from insanity. Everything that occurs in the last 20 minutes is shocking, even within the context of the film. To divulge anymore would be a sin.
Parents: Do NOT be fooled by the bright colors and cute characters. This movie is NOT for children. It makes “Deadpool” seem tame.