Just when Sharknado: the 4th Awakens made you think film-making couldn’t get any more ridiculous, a movie like Sausage Party comes along to remind you that Hollywood can always go that one step further to mind-boggling peculiarity.
Of course, that’s not always a bad thing, there have been countless weird and wacky films over the years that have gone on to become cult classics – look at Kick-Ass or even Pulp Fiction for examples of that. But for every Pulp Fiction there’s a Sharknado. So is Sausage Party good weird or as stale as a month-old bagel?
From the mind of Seth Rogen, Sausage Party is a strictly adults only animation that combines hugely offensive language and racial stereotypes with surprisingly meaningful religious undertones. And do you know what? It’s a breath of fresh air.
Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the sausage, Brenda (Kristen Wiig) the hot dog bun, Teresa Taco and Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) can’t wait to go home with a happy customer. Soon, their world comes crashing down as poor Frank learns the horrifying truth that he will eventually become a meal. After warning his pals about their similar fate, the panicked perishables devise a plan to escape from their human enemies.
Directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan take Rogen’s intriguing premise and inject a warmly familiar animation style, distancing itself just enough to make any comparisons simply inconceivable. Sausage Party is like nothing you will have ever seen.
The voice-acting is great too. Rogen plays his usual film staple – in sausage form – with the spicy Salma Hayek outdoing everyone else as a lustful taco. Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Michael Cera and Jonah Hill also lend their familiar voices to a hot-dog bun, a bottle of spirit and two other frankfurters respectively.
Elsewhere, the comedy, for the most part, hits the spot. As dreadful as it sounds, the racial stereotyping works incredibly well in food form. British tea, Mexican taco shells and German sauerkraut will have you rolling about the aisles with their outrageous vulgarity, but everyone needs to release their inner teenager once in a while.
Unfortunately, the films standout sequence has already been shown in the trailer – a side-splitting food-eye view of a normal kitchen, before every edible item is butchered; that poor Irish potato didn’t stand a chance. This is a real shame as the rest of the film doesn’t quite match up to the standard of that scene.
Nevertheless, there’ll be chuckles throughout as numerous celebrities are parodied in food form. One in particular, immortalised in chewing gum, is incredibly well thought out.
And that’s where Sausage Party succeeds the most. Underneath the polished animation and crude humour, this film is actually kind of clever. It tackles religion, war, race, sexuality and food waste very well indeed and that’s something the genre doesn’t ask for. It’s just unfortunate that it’s not quite as funny as the trailer would have you believe.
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Seth Rogen has made a film where drugs and bisexual orgies save the world. Wow, didn’t see that one coming, he says, rolling his eyes so far back that they burrow into his own brain.
Admittedly, though, anyone who says that there are smart adult animations made outside of Japan is a stinking liar and you should slap them, so Sausage Party being as silly as a child’s reaction of a Manowar cover shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. It’s puerile, it’s dumb, it’s a metaphor for religion, while interesting, is as subtle as a baboon fight… and it’s probably the best comedy of the summer.
Not that it’s had much competition, but Sausage Party is genuinely funny. Not exactly in a clever way, more in the way a child suddenly screaming “BUMS!” in the middle of a funeral is, but it’s got enough groaners and smart visual puns to make me gurgle like the tasteless idiot I am.
Which is worth something, I think.