Review: ‘Sausage Party’ Is A Filthy, Funny Supermarket Sweep Of Animated Insanity

You just know there will be parents out there who will take their offspring to see Sausage Party, believing it will be a cute cartoon involving an animated hot dog and a curvaceous hot dog bun and the foods that exist at the grocery store. They’ll think it’s like The Secret Life of Pets but with fruits and vegetables.

Don’t be one of these parents. Read the nutrition label – or in this case the MPAA rating and description – before falling into the trap of having to explain why a talking hot dog is relishing the thought of having his meat pulled out of its prophylactic wrapper and placed inside a moist bun lubricated with ketchup or mustard.

Sausage Party is not meant for children. Forgoing double entendres (Remember when Bo Peep told Sheriff Woody, “What would you say if I get someone else to watch the sheep tonight?” in Toy Story?) and subtlety for unfiltered expletives and full-on graphic sexual references, the animated comedy is crude on style and humor and well deserving of its restricted rating. Surprisingly, only eighteen frames had to be removed to ensure it not receive the dreaded NC-17.

Seth Rogen’s 10 year passion project is one of the raunchiest and filthiest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the funniest. But beyond a hot dog that really wants to get up in a bun, the comedy explores culture clash, organized religion and a susceptible belief that the foods blindly follow; those chosen by the “gods” (humans) will get to leave for “The Great Beyond,” the imagined afterlife outside of the supermarket.

Much like Toy Story, Sausage Party takes place in the same parallel world where humans are oblivious to talking inanimate objects. But unlike that kid-friendly feature, every piece of produce, condiment and over-excited frankfurter is an anthropomorphic character with arms, legs, eyes, and ears (even the ears of corn have ears!).

Rogen, who co-wrote the script with his childhood friend Evan Goldberg, among others, lends his voice to Frank (a hot dog, obviously), who shares a cramped space with a bunch of wieners inside the Shopwell’s supermarket. Occupying an end cap with a package of buns Frank is fixated on Brenda (Kristen Wiig). They both yearn to be placed in the same shopping cart and consummate their love once the plastic wrapping comes undone.

However, when a jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) returns to the store after being mistakenly purchased by one of the gods (nobody’s perfect), he tells the horrors that await to those that are chosen and taken to the Great Beyond: Maim (slicing and dicing), microwave (poor shredded cheese and tortilla chips), and eventual murder (get in my belly!).

But who to trust: a condiment that is unsure if it is honey or mustard, or the humans?

Curious, Frank decides to heed Honey Mustard’s warning and ventures to the liquor aisle to find Firewater (Bill Hader) and other non-perishables (Mr. Grits, Twink) that know the truth of what humans do to food. To get the proof to convince the rest of the perishables Frank must venture beyond the freezer section to an area of the store that would delight Martha Stewart or Hannibal Lecter. Meanwhile, Brenda gets paired with a lesbian taco (Salma Hayek), and a bagel (Edward Norton) that is at odds with a lavash (David Krumholtz) – a piece of flatbread that has been promised 72 bottles of extra-virgin olive oil in the Great Beyond. The bagels and lavashes have been at odds for years because their sides of the aisles have always loathed one another.

Seth Rogen gets some friendly support in the sound booth as James Franco voices a druggie who ingests bath salts and can see and communicate with hot dogs, a bag of potato chips and a half-eaten piece of pizza complaining it has no legs. Michael Cera is Barry, a deformed sausage that resides in the same package as Frank. He may not stand erect, but he’s got girth! Paul Rudd is Darren, the four-eyed, hair-strewn manager of Shopwell’s.

Bill Hader kills it as a Native American bottle of liquor, but he is upstaged by Nick Kroll as Douche. Yes, a feminine hygiene product and also revenge-seeking villain to Frank. Sounding like a New Yorker hopped up on steroids, Douche has one scene-stealing moment after another. He may not eat spinach for strength like Popeye but wait until you see what happens when he downs a fifth of Vodka.

Sausage Party pokes fun at gender inequality and ethnic stereotypes while making points about both. Some might find it to be in bad taste or just plain stupid, and maybe it is. But oh my bewildered surprise of each scene going further to push the line of what is obscene and indecent. Even if you didn’t know the plot going in, the title should be enough of an overt reference to know the type of comedy to expect.

Despicably smart and funny as hell, Sausage Party offers more laughs than items you can purchase in an express lane.

Score:
8/10

Director: Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
Writer: Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Cast: (Voices of) Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, David Krumholtz, Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll
Rating: R (for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use)
Running Time: 89 minutes

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