By Anthony Cancasci
With a movie titled Sausage Party, it may be safe to form some prejudgments before stepping into the theater. Seth Rogen and co. have proved time and time again that they have what it takes to spin a normal comedy into a controversial blockbuster, exemplified by 2014’s The Interview, which saw Rogen and frequent collaborator James Franco plotting to assassinate a grandiose portrayal of North Korea’s real life dictator, Kim Jong Un. That film sparked national debate, was pulled from theaters, and nearly resulted in nuclear retaliation. Then, although not as quite a spectacle, we saw this year’s Neighbors 2 discussing themes of sexism and feminist ideals via Zac Efron pulling his ballsack out. Now, after much time spent in a creative limbo, we’re finally treated to Rogen’s animated passion project about a group of grocery food products asking life’s big questions.
The story follows Frank (Rogen), a sausage in a grocery store who hopes to one day be chosen by the Gods who walk around him, where he will be taken to The Great Beyond, a dietary heaven where foods are treated to all of their wildest fantasies, and where Frank will finally be able to put his sausage into the bun of his girlfriend, Brenda (Kristen Wiig). But, in a furious turn of events that hilariously parodies Saving Private Ryan, Frank, Brenda, and a few other foods are separated from their packages and become lost in the store. This begins a series of dark discoveries that lead Frank and his friends to finding out the truth regarding the Great Beyond: that food is eaten. The spectacle is a surreal take on existentially dressed up as a clever comedy about cartoon food. Riddled with food puns, an antagonist who’s literally a douche, and burgeoning skepticism and commentary on religious belief as well as race relations, Sausage Party still achieves its goal of pleasing the audience as an ultrafuckedup Toy Story affiliate.
With a style akin to that of 2004’s Team America: World Police, Sausage Party finds new boundaries to push while maintaining the same style of humour that Apatow’s homegrown band of misfits have come to be revered for. Alongside an amazing cast that features Michael Cera as a deformed sausage, James Franco as a bath salt shooting junkie, Salma Hayek as a repressed lesbian taco, and Edward Norton as a bagel who sounds suspiciously like Woody Allen, Rogen delivers a knockout punch that leaves you lying on the floor of the frozen foods aisle, your gut wrenching from laughter and your head dizzy from thinking.
The thing that stands out about Sausage Party is its ability to simultaneously be a laugh out loud comedy about food sex and a think-piece full of metaphors mirroring our own human doubts about life’s meaning. The film itself is a unique brand of offbeat comedy marketed to the majority. All in all, Sausage Party is just too good for its audience. Those labeling the film a ‘dumb comedy’ have obviously missed the point and fallen victim to simply acknowledging the movie’s many one-liners about sausages. Its third act is a nearly flawless unraveling of cleverness and debauchery, pumping new meaning into the veins of the term “food porn”, as well as delivering the brilliant message that, while many people live their life in wait of Heaven, we sometimes miss out on the fact that life on Earth could be Heaven, if only we let it be. I commend writers Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffer, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen for coming up with such an inventive comedy in the days of such bland profanity as Dirty Grandpa and Unfinished Business, as well as directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon for ruining the innocence of animated films for eternity.
At a meagre 89 minutes, Sausage Party comes out on top as the funniest movie of the year, a truly dizzying fever dream of epic proportions that will only launch its makers further in the ranks of their comedic genius. Find that special someone in your life and treat them to this film. At the very least, you’ll be a little more weary at your next barbeque.