I don’t know how long I’ll be able to make this review because I want to give away as little as possible but still entice you to see the film. I am sure by this point that most of you have seen the red-band trailer for Sausage Party by this point and have thought to yourself that this looks either incredibly funny, incredibly stupid or both but that it would be a fun, breezy time at the movies regardless especially with Rogen and his crew at the helm. Well, I can tell you with no word of a lie that this film is hilarious, creative, original and one of the smartest movies to come out so far this year. Yes, I said smartest. That was not a typo.
The film surrounds the lives of various items in a grocery store that are awaiting the Gods (humans) to take them to The Great Beyond where they will supposedly live in a Heaven-like atmosphere and live in peace and harmony for the rest of their lives. The only fear they have is being thrown into the garbage when they are not deemed to be fresh anymore. However, they soon find out (thanks to some honey mustard) that the Great Beyond is not what it seems and that the Heaven they are expecting is more like Hell. This leaves Frank (Seth Rogen) to try and get everyone to believe him about the real truth so that they can escape their fate with their lives in tact.
This movie can best be described in one word: INSANE. Our main character is a sausage and his love interest is a hot dog bun. Would anyone ever hear that and think, “man, that would probably be a very insightful political and religious satire?” It is though! The whole idea of the food being carried off to a wonderful life of bliss and wonderment being based on blind faith encapsulates the very idea of religion. At one point, Frank even asks everyone why they believe in something if they have no proof and they respond by asking why he would insult their beliefs with his insinuations. I think it is safe to say that Rogen and his writing pal, Evan Goldberg, are not a church-going type but they don’t hit you over the head with their message either. In fact, you could easily enjoy this movie based on the jokes alone without even understanding the satirical messages behind the humour. If you do get it though you will love it as we have allusions to Iran/Palestine relations, Naziism, sexual orientation, stereotypes (of which the film is getting accused of BEING racist or sexist but more astute viewers will be able to see the true intention of that stuff in the film and move past the keyboard warriors’ opinions), racism and more. Many of the food items act like stereotypes according to the different countries they come from but that is part of a larger point that the movie is constantly trying to make here.
The humour itself is the typical raunchy stuff that Seth Rogen’s fans will love but it’s done with a twist here with the help of the unique method of having the film star a bunch of talking food. Some highlights for me include all the double entendres (the dialogue between Frank and his bun girlfriend (played by Kristen Wiig) is hysterical), the villain being a douchebag (no, that is literally what he is), a gigantic musical number at the end and one particular drug trip scene between a junkie and some food that is attempting to get his help. There is also some great food-related humour. I particularly enjoyed the joke where a piece of gum is shot and then reconstructs itself like the T-1000 in Terminator 2. One of the final scenes (that I will not reveal) is the icing on the cake though. It is the furthest I’ve ever seen a film push it’s R-rating (in the US; 14A here in New Brunswick). If you see the film, you will DEFINITELY know which one I am talking about.
As I’ve already said, the writing is very clever and well-done but there is some seriously inspiring voice work here too. Seth Rogen is perfect for the lead and Kristen Wiig gets a lot of funny moments too but some other highlights include Edward Norton doing an amazing Woody Allen impression in the role of a bagel (yes!), Salma Hayek as a fairly adventurous taco, Bill Hader as Firewater, a chief who was pushed out of his own land by the “crackers,” and Nick Kroll as the aforementioned Douche.
I am going to give this one the highest honours for being creative, hilarious and full of wonderful social satire that I was not expecting at all. Check this one out and open your mind – you will enjoy it!
* (Brutal; the worst rating)
** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)
*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)
**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)
***** (Flawless; a true achievement)