Genre: Comedy, Animated
The first ever R-rated CGI movie comes from writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and long-time collaborators Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. It’s Sausage Party, a parody of CGI movies which follows the story of several anthropomorphic supermarket shelf items. They all believe that one day they will be chosen by the gods (humans) and taken to The Great Beyond – a sort of heaven. When Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage, is led to believe that The Great Beyond isn’t real, he goes to discover the truth with his girlfriend Brenda, a bun. He soon discovers his suspicions are true and their destiny as food is to be brutally slaughtered and eaten. Thus it becomes his mission to save everyone before it is too late.
As to be expected from a Rogen & Goldberg movie, Sausage Party is littered with crude stoner humour. The antagonist is an actual douche called Douche. He gains more and more power by absorbing fluid from juice containers and such, repeating ridiculous catchphrases like, ‘I’m juiced up, bro!’ The character Firewater often goes off on tangents about cannabis which contrast with his wise-man persona – ‘is this indica?’ ‘No it’s Sativa. Clean high. Good shit’ and ‘we came up with it when we were really stoned. Like fuck a guy stoned.’ You can just imagine Rogen & Goldberg like ‘dude, you know what would be hilarious?’ as they write into the script a scene where a guy shoots up bath salts after being told ‘they’re the real deal’ and sees all his food come to life. The crudity progresses more and more as the film goes on to an extremely ridiculous point at the end – which is memorable to say the least. The humour isn’t for everybody, but it’s unfair to criticise the film for it as it does it with such gusto.
Alongside the humour Sausage Party manages to squeeze in some pretty clever satire. The supermarket is an expansive world – each aisle with its own cultural flavour and attitude. Within each there are cultural stereotypes which are so OTT that they come across as ironic. They all become a tool for the writers’ greater point about how we all need to see past our differences and unite in order to better ourselves. They make reference to Israel and Palestine with an arguing bagel and tortilla who can’t see sense in what Frank (Rogen) says: ‘isn’t there space for both of you in one aisle?’
The main topic that Sausage Party explores is religion. Frank can’t see how everyone blindly follows what they are told about The Great Beyond without proof. Other characters, for example Brenda, can’t see how he believes so strongly that there is proof of otherwise. The satire isn’t particularly deep, but it translates well.
What lets Sausage Party down is that sometimes it feels lazy. Edward Norton’s bagel character is so clearly a rip off of Woody Allen. A whole section involving Barry (deformed sausage, Michael Cera) is completely glossed over in a ridiculous flashback. And whereas CGI-animated great Toy Story creates a believable reality in which the toys only move about when they aren’t seen, the characters in Sausage Party continue to run about and do things in front of human eyes. Humans just perceive a sausage running away, for example, as it rolling across the table. Which is all fine. But when it manages to jump up onto the window ledge and out into the garden, what’s the explanation for that? Surely there was a way to solve this issue without having to settle for half measures.
Conclusion: it may be silly and crude, but if you’re the type of person that can embrace its crudity you’ll see that Sausage Party is actually intelligent, heartfelt, and relevant.