What would the world be like if food could talk and have feelings? It’s a pretty daunting thought, and one of the many reasons why it took Seth Rogen over eight years to get Sausage Party into production. Unsurprisingly, with the likes of Rogan, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig attached as writers, it was never going to be one aimed at a younger audience. Less surprising, however, is the content of Sausage Party: it’s a picture which excessively revels in the use of swearing, sex and drugs.
The plot isn’t too dissimilar to that of the aliens in Pixar’s classic Toy Story: the groceries in in Shopwell’s store are led to believe that, when picked, they are led to the ‘Great Beyond’ for a more fulfilling existence.But after a botched attempt at exiting to the Great Beyond, a sausage named Frank (Seth Rogan) and his companion Bun (Kristen Wiig)must discover the truth about the outside world and warn the rest of their friends before it’s too late.
The cast reads as a who’s who of noughties adult comedy and, on paper, is nothing less than stellar: Rogen, Wiig, Cera, Hill, Franco, Hader, McBride, Robinson… the list goes on, and just from surname alone it’s easy to guess who’s being referred to. But as was the case with the action supergroup franchise The Expendables, it’s certainly possible to have too much of a good thing, and the same major problem which plagued Stallone’s vehicle is present here: too much ego, not enough time to fit it all in. This is very much Rogen and Wiig’s shindig – the others were just invited.
That wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the jokes were actually funny. Consisting largely of expletives thrown here there and everywhere, gratuitous drug use (which is even instrumental to the plot) and subtle-as-a-sledgehammer sexual innuendos (sausage = penis, bun = vagina), Sausage Party desperately claws to fit enough ‘mature’ (which in reality is anything but) content into 90 minutes to earn its hard R rating. Credit where it’s due though, the final 20 minutes are some of the most offensive, cringe-worthy and politically incorrect ever seen. Even the most hardened of souls will find it difficult not to feel incredibly uncomfortable and laugh at just how preposterous the montage is.
Of course it succeeds in being a hard R rated comedy, but ironically the best moments come from mostly innocent food-related puns and eagle eyed observations which really personify the items: one particularly memorable scene involving a popular loaf shaped piece of food. As quickly as these flashes of brilliance appear though, they are lost in a sea of swear words which do nothing to add to the humour.
On a more positive note, it’s far from ugly to look at. With only a $19 million budget, it was never going to be a match for Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks Animation but the style manages to look unique enough to let Sausage Party earn this praise.
With only really 10 minutes of genuinely funny material in its relatively brisk yet still exhausting runtime, Sausage Party is one gathering in which you shouldn’t feel too bad about making an excuse not to attend.