|UK Release Date||2nd September 2016|
|Director||Tiernan & Vernon|
|Starring||Seth & Friends|
|Reviewed||30th August 2016|
“From the writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express and the guys who brought you This is The End and Bad Neighbours…..” Went the trailer…. Which is a pretty impressive CV. We’ve seen all of those, reviewed two of them and generally found them all to be hilarious. To be fair, This is The End was batshit crazy as well but on the whole, a solid CV. Strangely the trailer didn’t have time to add “….and the Directors of Thomas The Tank Engine and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted…” but I appreciate the need for brevity there.
The trailer for Sausage Party was a blast though. Presenting the idea that food has a mind of its own and that what awaits it in the promised land beyond the store door is probably less than ideal from its point of view, it was also riotously foul-mouthed - as you’d expect from the people listed above. Good for us but could it maintain this over 89 minutes? Well, kind of….
The movie revolves around Frank (Seth Rogen), a frankfurter sausage who believes he is destined to spend eternity with Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a bun in the wrapper next to his on the shelf. With 4th of July is coming up, they confidently expect to swerve the constant threat of expiration to be united in the promised land. We first meet Frank at the end of the daily song that the foods recite just prior to opening. An expansive number that gives praise to the gods and gives voice to a good number of kinks within the food’s belief system.
Things start to go awry when Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is chosen but then returned to the store as the shopper picked him up in error, meaning instead to purchase normal mustard. Honey Mustard is deposited back on his shelf in a terrible state, shrieking about horrific things awaiting them in the beyond, a betrayal of the gods and, when he is picked again in the same basket as Frank and Brenda’s packages, commits suicide off the trolley, causing a huge mess. Frank, Brenda and a bunch of other foods (plus a Douche - something I just Googled and now feel distinctly queasy about) are left behind whilst the rest of their packaging continues on its presumed celestial voyage.
During the fallout from the trolley incident, Frank and Brenda are accused of casing the mayhem by attempting to rescue the suicidal Honey Mustard and Douche (Nick Kroll) turns feral in his quest for power and revenge. They flee, along with a bagel and a lavash to seek advice from Firewater (Bill Hader), a sage like bottle of… er.. Firewater who resides with the other Non-Perishables….
Get all that? Well, you’ve probably figured out by now that aside from the off-centre and utterly hysterical tone, this movie is very much sketched out in the Pixar mould in the sense of plot (have fun spotting all the Pixar digs on a screen rammed full of stuff). The central pair are on a mission to reunite with their friends and ensure their happy ever after, whilst fending off mistreatment and injustice along the way. That this all leads to one of the weirdest orgies you will ever see is by the by.
Credited to no less than five writers (including two of the stars), you can well imagine the fun that was had putting the script together. And in this case, it pretty much comes through to the screen. Put it this way, if you laughed at the trailer, you’re on solid ground here. The characters are given enough life to make them stand out and the whole thing bangs out gags faster than your face can process them.
In amongst all the deliberately and at times glorious foulness (the sweetcorn! - there's something I can never un-see), the film-makers appear to be making a serious and non-too subtle point about religion’s promises and how they are co-opted to suit different causes as generations go by. Sammy Bagel and Kareem Abdul Lavash are the most obvious point for this, bickering endlessly about aisle space before finally uniting on a love of hummus. Likewise Firewater who, it transpires, is in fact the prophet in this weird setup and who, when he’s not completely baked, thoroughly regrets the many interpretations and twist on his well-meaning invention.
Of course, this is all played out on a background of sausages fucking buns so I guess you can pretty much take what you want from that part and spend the rest of it cracking up as an Irish potato screams in pain when its skin is removed or a douche finally gives up on its ideal destination and ends up in the second best place.
The animation is hilariously contrasted with the general goings on, especially the main supermarket which could come straight out of any kid's movie with its idyllic aisles, resplendent with happy smiling cabbages and the opening musical number takes the same happy happy tone whilst dispensing some deliberately questionable lyrics.
I think This is The End is probably the best indicator of whether you’ll enjoy Sausage Party of not. If you had a good time with that one, I’d confidently predict you’ll enjoy this. In truth it struggles to justify its already pretty lean running time but it has just about enough to say beyond the trailer gag to go the distance. Pixar’s bright world view is successfully skewered time and time again and for once, the finale does actually reconcile a world where inanimate objects can talk outside of human presence, all be it in outright carnage and the orgy I mentioned above. Everyone has a whale of a time and that easily translates to the audience. For crying out loud though, don’t take your kids.