11 August 2016 | bkrauser-81-311064
Vulgar, Crass and Incredibly Funny
Sausage Party is a foul, crass, mean-spirited little film that pits grocery products against the horrifying realization that their use in this world is to be consumed and tossed away without a second thought. Centering on a courtship between a sausage named Frank (Rogen) and a hot dog bun named Brenda (Wiig), the very fact that the discontented ten year old in all of us didn't just giggle at the thought of how they consummate their love is enough proof that this film is juvenile. Yet despite leaning, nudging and winking towards the least discerning of low-brow audiences, Sausage Party is funny enough to have people rolling in the aisles, smart enough to lend itself to cogent meta-commentary and vulgar enough to live in teenage-screen-hopping infamy. Make no mistake, this film is the brass ring, the real deal, the funniest film you're likely to see this year and given this year in comedy, I say it's about damn time.
Before the events of Sausage Party, Brenda and Frank live inside their separate packages; Frank being partnered with friends Carl (Hill) and the diminutive Barry (Cera) among others. Every morning, the denizens of Shopwell sing a song of joy while they lay in waiting for a benevolent god (human) to choose them and take them to the "great beyond". Failure to be chosen, or worse dropped on the floor, means produce is to be thrown away in a seemingly bottomless abyss of a grocery store garbage bin. Frank and Brenda however like their chances. It's a few days till red, white and blue day; what could go wrong? One returned container of Honey Mustard (McBride) who forecasts doom is what can go wrong. That and a particularly testy Douche (Kroll) angered by a grocery cart accident that sullies his chances to be useful.
As an animation, Sausage Party is artfully, colorfully and simplistically rendered. Each section of the grocery store lights up with a look and feel that compliments the local produce. After the doors close the Mexican food area resembles a rustic western cantina, the cookware section beams with the silvery glow of shimmering straight edges and the alcohol aisle is just one big rave. Environments outside the store are limited yet realistically depict the kitchen of a prim housewife and the dingy living room of a bugged out druggie. The less I tell you about the brief street scene, the better. Overall, it's obvious there were limitations in the budget yet if compared to the similarly themed Foodfight! (2012), this film's animation is an artistic triumph.
The embedded oddness of the story lends itself to some pretty unique and funny jokes. Ones that hit the funny-bones of all not easily offended or grossed out. Such highlights include a bagel (Norton) and a lavash (Krumholtz) arguing about having to share an aisle, a Grits (Robinson) package being misplaced by "dirty good-for-nothing' crackers," and legions of sourkraut looking to exterminate the juice. Needless to say there are times when the film get's lost in the tall grass with over-broad ethnic stereotypes (A Native American liquor bottle named Firewater certainly ranks among the most egregious). But let's face it, if you're sold on the premise of a R- Rated animated comedy about food-stuffs you probably won't be too concerned.
Sausage Party is a funny, funny, funny movie that doesn't just hand in shock value laughs for the sake of shock value laughs. It's also a well-created hero's journey with something to say and avoids all the pratfalls of modern comedy by A: not relying on broad improvisational humor and B: lands that third act like it's its b***h! Speaking of which: don't take your kids to go see Sausage Party. This is not the film you can harangue "cool mom" points with, seriously. Keep those little tykes at bay at least until their old enough to purchase their own heroin syringes.