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Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
Starring: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Nick Kroll
Whether you look at it as an adult version of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 or a food version of This Is the End, you'll walk out of the theatre after having watched Sausage Party slightly scarred. This in-your-face comedy refuses to be kid-friendly, instead going for the record in how often a fruit can say fuck and how sexual you can make a taco that has no genitalia. If you didn't know or haven't guessed by now, this film is R-rated, meant for grownups with sick senses of humor, and should not be attended with any parents who just want to come along because "that Jewish guy is pretty funny." Sausage Party is one giant insult, crass to the core, and uncomfortably animated. It stereotypes, it grosses out, it pushes the envelope, it shocks, but it might also be the funniest film you'll see this year.
Welcome to Shopwell, where every grocery item is fresh & ready for your choice selection. Not only that, but they are eager as well, full of life and anxious to be chosen to leave through the giant front doors into a world that they can only imagine. The food of Shopwell has created a religion of sorts together, singing songs about the glories of the Great Beyond, a place where nothing bad could possibly happen. They have faith, though no one has actually been outside to know for sure, that the gods that select them only have each comestible's best interest at heart. But when a honey mustard is returned to the store, he preaches a horrible gospel; that death lies outside those doors, that the gods don't take care of food at all. A brave sausage, with his bun at his side, will go on a dangerous journey to find out the truth, meeting many foreign foods along the way, learning valuable lessons with every step.
What shocked me much more than the raw sexual and 12-year-old boy humors of the film was its core message. I don't think it's over-dramatic to say that the writers of Sausage Party had something they wanted to say very badly, choosing to voice it through animated food for humor's sake but also to make it more digestible, pun intended. The message is one religious viewers won't like: that it's stupid to believe in an imagined life that will be better than the one you're living right now, especially when that imagining costs you your current pleasure & happiness. Why wait to live, the gods aren't judging you, they won't reward you later, your life is now and it's the only one you get. Pretty ridiculous to think that this idea needs to be advertised at all, let alone in a Seth Rogen comedy, but from the start the film makes this concept a central theme, sticks with it throughout, and only backs off long enough to admit that calling zealots morons won't solve the problem, that we need to love each other instead. Heavy stuff.
But don't worry, there's light stuff too. Actually, they're very specific with the way they recommend that we love each other to get past our differences, and that would be with orgies. Food orgies, complete with group masturbation, oral sex circles, and sticking whatever whenever however. And you thought I was setting this movie up to be poignant. No, the lewdness you'd expect from this crew shows up, making the film a combination of sorts, high thinking and low degrading. Seth Rogen is a wiener on a mission, ready to stick it in his bun first chance he gets. Kristen Wiig as his better half is a confused receptacle, not sure whether to follow the gods or her loins. The rest of the cast is rounded off by some great comedic names: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd. Salma Hayek & James Franco even pop up, with Edward Norton stealing the show with a spot-on Woody Allen impression as the most kosher bagel you'll ever come across. What's the end result when the credits roll? That has a lot to do with your viewpoint, as I can imagine Christians, conservatives, and older audiences walking away quite offended by content that's, let's face it, super offensive. On the other hand, what's more fun than hot dogs making fun of religion and referencing semen?