Movie Review: Sausage Party (2016)
“A hero will rise.”
Sausage Party (2016)
Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Cast: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill
Synopsis: A sausage discovers that all he believed about his life is a lie.
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Irreverent adult animation Sausage Party was dreamed up by perpetual man-child Seth Rogen and his acolytes, so you know before the credits even roll that you’re about to be buried under an avalanche of crude jokes and profanity delivered at a machine gun pace. It’s the decidedly unstable formula which made their apocalyptic comedy, This is the End, such a soul-crushing ordeal to sit through, but, somehow, Sausage Party, which turns the kind of kiddie-friendly characters found in a Pixar movie into foul-mouthed creatures motivated by sex and illicit recreational substances, not only manages to be quite funny, but also serves as a metaphor for the both the religious and racial intolerance in a modern, mobile world, and the manner in which religious faith is exploited by those with a self-serving agenda.
Our hero is Frank (Rogen – 50/50), one of the contents of a pack of ten sausages situated on a shelf in the Shopwell supermarket, who waits with impatient anticipation for the day when a God (i.e. human shopper) sweeps him and his friends away to the Great Beyond, a fabled land of perpetual fun and happiness. Frank has even more reason than his friends to look forward to that day, because it means he will finally be freed of the packaging which prevents him from squeezing between the pre-cut folds of sexy bun girlfriend, Brenda (Kirsten Wiig – Zoolander 2, Ghostbusters). But when a suicidal honey pot (Danny McBride – Despicable Me, Due Date), who has returned from the Great Beyond causes a trolley spillage, Frank and Brenda must negotiate Shopwell’s vast aisles in order to make their way back to their own shelf, while also avoiding the vengeful douche (Nick Kroll), who blames Frank for the injuries he received in the spillage, the nature of which means he will never get to serve the purpose for which he was intended.
Sausage Party’s selling point isn’t so much it’s often juvenile humour – although that’s undoubtedly the aspect of the movie that will appeal most to its target audience – but the way in which it turns the Shopwell supermarket into a microcosm of our own world, with the territory of each type of foodstuff clearly demarcated, and occasional sidelong glances directed at locations considered more desirable than their own. Such a concept would provide more than enough material for a movie, but Sausage Party then throws in a scathing indictment of the way that guardians of organised religion cynically exploit their power to sell the masses a fantastic dream designed, not to enrich their lives, but simply to keep them in line. Not content to leave it there, however, Sausage Party then shows, in horrifying detail, the rude awakening that awaits those friends of Frank’s who fail to open their minds to the fact they are being sold dangerous lies.
Despite all that’s going on beneath the surface, Sausage Party, never strays from its prime objective of throwing as much crude, off-colour humour at us as it can. To be honest, it all grows a little wearing by the final reel, especially as Rogen and his chums are something of an acquired taste to begin with, but you’ll still find yourself laughing even as you wish for it to come to an end.
(Reviewed 22nd August 2016)