Release date: 2nd September 2016/Watch the trailer here
Sausage Party is the older, ruder relative of a Pixar film; we’ve seen inanimate objects brought to life before (toys, cars, etc.), and now Seth Rogen and co. have breathed life into food, with dark (and often outrageous) results.
The story begins in Shopwell’s supermarket, where all of the food that fills the shelves (each with a pun-tastic name) wants nothing more than to be chosen by a ‘god’ (humans) and taken to the ‘Great Beyond’. Unfortunately, Frank, a hot dog sausage, ends up learning the terrible truth about the Great Beyond: that the gods actually murder food in all manner of awful ways. Frank, along with his hot dog bun girlfriend Brenda Bunson (Kristen Wiig), must convince his fellow food of the truth, all the while trying to escape the villainous Douche (voiced by, funnily enough, Nick Kroll, who is ‘The Douche’ of Parks and Recreation‘s ‘Crazy Ira and The Douche’).
There’s also a couple more sausages, Carl (Jonah Hill) and Barry (Michael Cera), an all-knowing bottle of Firewater (Bill Hader), Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton, doing his best Woody Allen impression), a taco with a crush on Brenda (Salma Hayek), and – on the more human side of things – a druggie (James Franco, of course) and hapless Shopwell’s manager Darren (Paul Rudd). It’s a star-studded cast, but Sausage Party never really gets better than our initial introductions to the characters and the numerous food-related puns.
The problem with Sausage Party is that it’s not really all that funny. There’s been a lot of emphasis in its marketing about the film’s R-rated nature, but it’s evident that a lot of effort was put into actually achieving that R-rating. It’s very, very rude, but the funniest moments tend to come from the more innocent humour. There’s nothing wrong with making an adult animated film – in fact, it’s a great idea – but the adult side of Sausage Party feels forced, which is a shame considering that it comes from the minds of people to whom adult humour comes naturally (and usually hilariously).
Clearly, the intention was to let the lazy plot rest on the laughs, but since they’re not up to scratch either, it’s obvious that Sausage Party doesn’t have that much going for it. It’s fun to watch something that’s so insanely surreal – although there are moments when that surrealism is taken way too far – but the concept soon wears thin. No amount of raunch or rowdiness can disguise the fact that Sausage Party just isn’t very funny.