It’s happened. Someone has outdone the “Team America” puppet sex scene and even made it look somewhat quaint in comparison. Anyone even vaguely interested in the very R-rated animated film “Sausage Party ” has likely heard whispers about the food orgy. Words can’t even begin to do this sequence justice, but I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it in a mainstream studio movie. It’s jaw-dropping.
Of course it’s compliments of the minds that blew up a foreign leader in “The Interview” and reveled in the comedy of rape by demon in “This is the End.” Yes, co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have used their singular and delightfully twisted imaginations once more to concoct what is easily the year’s most audacious film. And it’s packaged in animation cutesy enough for Pixar.
In the grand tradition of “Toy Story,” ”Sausage Party” imagines the lives of the foodstuffs in the local supermarket aisle. But it doesn’t merely anthropomorphize the food. It gives them sexuality, lust, ethnicities and even religion. “Sausage Party” is just as much a sweet story about belief and faith as it is a vehicle for the filthiest jokes you’ve never dared imagine.
Frank (Seth Rogen), a non-descript hot dog, waits somewhat impatiently with his fellow mates to be selected by the gods (humans) to be taken to a paradise in The Great Beyond (purchased). Everyone in the store knows something good is out there waiting. The foods and condiments and sweets begin every day with a rousing song about The Great Beyond and the Gods, each putting their own spin on it (i.e. the German mustard has added a line about exterminating Juice).
For Frank, it’s all about paradise and the chance to match with his soul mate Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a sexy hotdog bun with Barbie legs and a desire equal to Frank’s. They’re waiting for the gods to choose them before they act on anything.
Things go awry when they are chosen. A jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) that was returned to the store by a customer is so traumatized by what he’s seen “out there” that he jumps out of the cart to his death. A few follow him out of their packages to try to save him and get tossed from the cart, including Brenda, Frank, Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton, affecting his best Woody Allen), Lavash (David Krumholtz) and a Douche (Nick Kroll), who becomes dead set on killing Frank for preventing him from reaching The Great Beyond.
And that group goes off exploring – some trying to get back to their spot in the store, some searching for the truth, and some (the Jewish bagel and Middle Eastern flatbread) waxing philosophical on the nature of belief. Those that made it to The Great Beyond, including Frank’s hot dog buddy Barry (Michael Cera), experience the horrors of dinner time.
As in all Rogen and Goldberg films, no matter how raunchy, there is a big heart at the center. It’s what distinguishes them from the anything goes satire of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Anything goes here too, but it’s rooted in something deeper and infinitely more earnest.
“Sausage Party,” directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon with co-screenwriting credits for Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, might not be for everyone (especially kids drawn to the posters and perplexed that cute animation might not actually always be for them), but it’s a wild good time that will offend, shock and even delight.
There is no one out there making comedies quite like Rogen and Goldberg. They are putting their definitive stamp on the modern American comedy one decency-smashing double entendre at a time.
“Sausage Party,” a Columbia Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use.” Running time: 89 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.
by Lindsey Bahr (AP)