The 400-Word Review: Sausage Party
By Sean Collier
August 15, 2016
Sausage Party, the very adult animated comedy, had no reason to try to engage in either commentary or satire. Yet it does; the film’s anthropomorphic sausages and buns debate the nature of belief and the role of proof in religion, while the film as a whole serves as a commentary on the trend of imbuing inanimate objects with sentience for children’s entertainment. Are we relying on a narrative crutch by pretending our toys and cars can talk? In a world of violence, is there room for adorable, conflict-free tales with dancing cartoons?
I mean, mostly this movie is about really bad sex puns, but that stuff is in there as well.
In a gigantic, suburban supermarket, pre-packaged and raw foodstuffs vie for territory on their shelves as they hope to be selected by the gods (shoppers) to be taken to the great beyond. They’ve been led to believe that purchased food is embraced by humans, left to live out eternity in peace and freedom. As Independence Day weekend approaches, hot dog Frank (Seth Rogen) and bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig) hope to be chosen together, so they can finally unite outside of their packaging.
A shopping cart collision (rendered in the style of a harrowing, terroristic attack) leaves Frank, Brenda and a crew of others lost in the supermarket. Meanwhile, their compatriots head home and learn the awful truth about the fate of food.
Any appreciation of Sausage Party requires an understanding: This film is not really meant as a straight comedy, but rather as an effort in excess and ridiculousness. The aim in many scenes is not to craft clever setups for laughs but rather to see just how far the envelope can be pushed; the audience is meant to question just what the filmmakers will make their creations do. (And the filmmakers are happy to shock as much as possible.)
It’s an odd way to spend time at the theater, and it cannot be called an unqualified success. Still, plenty of scenes are genuinely funny, owing in large part to an all-star voice cast, also including Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek, Bill Hader, Edward Norton, James Franco, Sugar Lyn Beard and more. And while the squeamish or easily offended — scratch that, anyone who is ever offended for any reason — should avoid Sausage Party, the curious will at the very least get an entirely unique cinematic experience.
My Rating: 6/10
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark