By: Debbie Wang
It’s safe to say that anyone who walks into Sausage Party knowing it’s from the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg is expecting some crude language, more than a handful of wiener jokes (two puns there), and a scene or two where someone gets ridiculously high. What’s unexpected is when a movie that you think is about anthropomorphic hot dogs and sexual innuendos turns into an insightful discussion about racial and religious stereotypes.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to Frank (Seth Rogen), the titular sausage in this party who has spent his entire shelf life in plastic packaging, along with Carl (Jonah Hill) and a short-but-makes-up-for-it-in-girth sausage named Barry (Michael Cera). Frank, his “bunogamous” girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig), and all the other foods in the Shopwell’s wait for the grocery store to open each day so they can sing a song to thank Gods of the Great Beyond. Life is supposedly so much better in the Great Beyond, but when Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned to the store, his nervous breakdown makes Frank wonder how much of what they’ve been preaching in their morning song is actually true.
Nevertheless, Frank, Brenda, and all their friends are still naively excited about being chosen to go to the Great Beyond. But when two shopping carts crash into other, a vaginal douche named Douche (Nick Kroll) vows to seek revenge on the two lovers whom he believes caused him to miss his opportunity to go home with a … let’s call her a nice lady. Now separated from the rest of the sausages, Frank learns the terrifying truth about the Great Beyond and makes it his mission to enlighten all his friends in the store while simultaneously avoiding the wrath of Douche.
Throughout this whole process, we welcome the essentially mandatory jokes about racial stereotypes and male genitalia. Those jokes, which Sausage Party provides in spades, have become par for the course for a Rogen/Goldberg film. There’s a scene where a character voiced by James Franco gets high off of bath salts and then starts talking to a Stephen Hawking-esque chewed-up piece of gum with arms and legs. (I’m still trying to process that idea too and I’ve seen the film.) But the ridiculous, raunchy, and slightly offensive jokes are also balanced out by some surprisingly smart conversation about culture, religion, and the current state of race dynamics.
A six-pack of Canadian beer constantly saying “sorry”. A Native American bottle of liquor describing how he was forced to leave his aisle because it was taken over by the “crackers”. An Arabic lavash and a Jewish bagel learn that there are some cultural similarities between the two of them. There’s even dialogue about the importance of respecting the religious beliefs of others – just because one perishable good believes in the Great Beyond, doesn’t mean another has to as well. Having said that, we still get our fair share of awful, dad-level, but glorious, food puns.
Sausage Party isn’t going to be for everyone. Only a certain type of person will fit into both the “finds animated foods having an orgy funny” and “enjoys satires about racial intolerance and religious allegory” categories. To compare it to some of Rogen and Goldberg’s more recent work: It’s not as funny as This Is The End, but the delivery of the punchlines from the voice-cast is too good not to praise. It’s definitely a lot smarter than the controversial The Interview, but only slightly less offensive. Regardless, if there was any part of either of those films that you enjoyed, you’ll still have a good laugh watching a hot dog and a bun touch “just the tips”.
What did you think of Sausage Party? Let us know in the comments below…
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