A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.
Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Starring: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Nick Kroll, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Iris Apatow
Rated: R (strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use)
By Matt Greene
The element of surprise is the cornerstone of comedy, and Rogen’s crew has proven more than capable of catching us off guard with their brand of childish-adult humor (ie Knocked Up, This Is The End). Their latest venture, a bawdy animated-food comedy, finds them in an undeniably original medium. While much of the surprise in the individual jokes is gone in favor of broader concepts, Sausage Party still works, thanks to its comedic thoughts on faith and prejudice. It’s a mixture of foody and racist puns that, while far from consistent, provide plenty of easy laughs.
Sausage Party is the story of a gang of grocery items who go on an adventure of self-discovery and terrifying revelations. Its surprising main ingredient is its interest in social pigeonholing; think Zootopia without the cute animals and family-friendliness. Thoughtless religion and selfish bigotry are on abundant display, including a hilarious opening song (akin to the worst of modern evangelical music) and a straight-up explanation of our tendency to compartmentalize people with religion and race. Even with that self-awareness, its stereotypes are pretty tired (the bagel is a scared Jew, the taco is a sex-crazed Latino).
Its racial typecasting isn’t the only thing that pushes the envelope in this hard R. Cartoon parodies of violent horror and war films, drug-trip scenes, and a finale so hilariously / offensively vulgar I’m not sure I can even mention it; it’s like these guys knew they could get away with more in an animated world. So while Sausage Party’s inventive ideas never quite cook the jokes to their full transcendence, it’s still pretty dang funny.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
By Cole Schneider
The “Pineapple Express” crew has a particular vision for its take on Pixar. “Sausage Party” is every bit as crude and vulgar as it wants to be. It’s not always as funny as it wants to be, but it does find several hilarious moments that will never escape the psyche of its audience. It’s also a bit more ambitious, even nuanced, in its subject matter than most will expect, but ultimately it doesn’t do anything with its critical observations of religion. Ultimately then, “Sausage Party” is a mixed bag. For those with the stomach for its animated crassness, there are plenty of rewards alongside face-palms.
“Sausage Party” takes a grocery store setting, imbues its food with life and personality, and then overlays a familiar socio-religious metaphysical group-think on top of its anthropomorphized subjects. That setup takes the group of blind-faith-cult-following perishable foods along a journey of doubting the gods (humans who choose to buy them) into a deeper realization of the world they inhabit. What happens when they find out that the gods only choose them in order to violently consume them? Who is responsible for creating the cult in the first place? Is it better to have a lifetime of blissful hope that ends in disappointment or a lifetime of anxious fear that ends in an expected despair? There are many questions that “Sausage Party” begs and answers in creative, if generic ways.
Yet the most telling response must come after its core question: Is it funny? Yes. Yes, it is funny, but like its theological reflections, it’s full of qualifiers. It’s funny, but it’s not that funny. “Sausage Party” is a take-it-or-leave-it affair.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars