Sausage Party (2016)
Directed by: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
Written by: Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill, Kyle Hunter, Seth Rogen
Starring: Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen
IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 89 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
In a supermarket called Shopwell’s, the foods and other grocery items see the human shoppers as gods who take them to “the great beyond” when they are purchased. A sausage named Frank has dreams of living in the great beyond with his hot dog bun girlfriend, Brenda. Frank and Brenda’s packages are chosen by a human to leave Shopwell’s, but en route they are warned by a returned jar of honey mustard that the great beyond is not what they have been led to believe. After an accidental collision during their trip to the registers, Frank, Brenda, a lavash named Kareem, a bagel named Sammy, and a douche named Douche fall out of the shopping cart. Douche’s nozzle is damaged, for which he blames Frank, and swears revenge….
I almost didn’t see Sausage Party because of how unfunny the trailer was and the fact that the multi-untalented Seth Rogen, who thinks that swearing, sex and drugs are funny in themselves and don’t require the thinking up of any actual jokes, was involved. But then….well….the concept seemed intriguingly “out there”’ and surely some alcohol had put me in the mood for some crude, rude humour? How wrong I was. Actually the opening scene, a musical number where all the food in the shop sings and dances is a quite amusing and almost clever Broadway parody, and later on, just for half a minute, there’s a bit with a real feel of horror when some of our protagonists actually witness what really happens to food once it’s been bought and taken home. But otherwise, this film is pathetic, the sort of thing that creatively mediocre, slow-witted people come up with when they get stoned whilst watching Toy Story. I believe that there’s certainly a place for animated movies that are not for kids, but directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, plus the five writers [yes, five writers worked on this bilge], who probably thought that they were making a modern variant of those adult cartoon pictures that Ralph Bakshi made in the 70s, are obviously not the folk who should be doing so. You’ll find more wit, intelligence and genuine laughs in ten minutes of South Park.
The dialogue is almost nonstop using of the ‘F’ word. Said word even takes the place of many jokes because the writers think that it’s hilarious. I don’t find it offensive, but I did find its use in this film thoroughly tiresome. Then you get lots of food puns and dialogue about sex. Sausages talk to buns about going “inside” them. Characters go on about “getting baked”. Lavash Kareem and bagel Sammy, who represent Arabs and Jews, end up having gay sex. The big climax is a food orgy. Pretty funny, ay? Well, maybe it is if you’re a 12 year old boy who thinks that anything sexual is funny and that it’s so cool to swear lots. The use of ethnic foods to represent the real life conflicts and stereotypes of the people associated with them is a nice idea, but the story ends up being mostly yet another tiresome, preachy attack on religion that we’ve had countless times before. The animation, on a budget far below your average Pixar or Dreamworks effort, is quite good, though apparently the animators were forced to work overtime on the movie for no extra pay, which almost mirrors how I felt after sitting through this feeble piece of drivel. How anyone could create an ‘R’-rated cartoon, where all the constraints were off, and still be this unfunny and boring is beyond me. Rogen and co. need to lay off the drugs for a while and see if they can make a real comedy.