Blu-ray Review: Sausage Party
By John Corrado
★★½ (out of 4)
Dreamt up by writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg who wanted to craft a Pixar-style computer animated film for adults, Sausage Party imagines a world where grocery store items are alive, and living under the delusion of entering “The Great Beyond” when they are taken out of the supermarket by customers.
The hero of the story is Frank (Seth Rogen), a hot dog who can’t wait to be out of the package so he can finally slip inside his girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a curvaceous hot dog bun. But a series of events, and an encounter with all-knowing Firewater (Bill Hader), leads Frank to start uncovering the truth that humans aren’t gods, and being eaten is the fate that awaits them in the outside world.
If this sounds totally weird and messed up, that’s because it is, and the premise of food coming alive is just as mildly disturbing as expected. But for the most part, Sausage Party works for what it is, essentially offering a distillation of cultural tensions and different religious beliefs explored through caricatured grocery items. A prime example is the bickering between Arab flatbread Lavash (David Krumholtz) and Jewish bagel Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton), who argue over having to share an aisle in one of the film’s most pointed and amusing subplots.
Although Sausage Party is kind of dumb and obvious on the one hand with its multitude of goofy puns – the villain is a literal douchebag (Nick Kroll) – it’s also pretty clever and sometimes even smart in terms of what it’s trying to say, and that’s a tricky balance to pull off. Full of filthy dialogue, and a multitude of delightfully politically incorrect jokes that are bound to be offensive to multiple different groups, the entire thing functions as a satire of religious fundamentalism and blind faith. The film’s timely message is that without these things it would be easier for us all to rise above and get along.
The result a crude and edgy cartoon for adults, with animation that is pretty decent for something done on a smaller budget than the majority of studio films. I can’t exactly call it a great film, but it’s certainly audacious and does have something to say, which counts for a lot in terms of comedy. With a great cast who all sound like they are having a blast, there are enough laughs to be had in Sausage Party to keep things entertaining, and the film ends on a perfectly meta note that takes the story to its natural and totally out there conclusion. And it features the only literal food orgy I’ve ever seen.
The Blu-ray includes a gag reel, a Line-O-Rama that shows alternate takes of jokes, and the three featurettes Shock and Awe: How Did They Get This Made?, The Booth and The Great Beyond, which shows us the recording process behind the Disneyesque musical number penned by Alan Menken that opens the film. There’s also a brief video showing Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg joking about pitching a film called Sausage Party during the press tour for Superbad, and the promotional video Seth Rogen’s Animation Imaginatorium, which sees the actor impersonating Walt Disney.
Sausage Party is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 89 minutes and rated 18A.