We’ve been seeing the secret lives of inanimate objects for a while now, especially after Pixar’s breakthrough film, Toy Story. But you haven’t seen anything like Sausage Party.
Set in a supermarket called Shopwell’s, this gaspingly hilarious, absurdist animated comedy uses foodstuffs as vehicles for brilliant, biting social satire. It’s an embarrassment of riches — like a candy store for adults, casting our inhibitions aside while still nourishing us with food for thought.
The film revolves around the relationship between a sausage named Frank (Seth Rogen) and Brenda (Kristen Wiig), the bun he wants to fill. Their lives turn upside down when a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) reveals the truth about the world outside the store. It’s not “the great beyond” they are expecting; it’s a slaughterhouse. Shoppers are insatiable murderers!
Even after this discovery of their inevitable demise, the foodstuffs keep punishing themselves and suppressing temptations in an effort to reach heaven. By thinking life is about the destination rather than the journey, they miss the joy of the ride. We see several of them struggle: A hard-shell taco (Salma Hayek) has difficulty enjoying herself while keeping her homosexual desires hidden; a misshapen wiener (Michael Cera) obsesses over his “abnormality;” a Middle Eastern piece of flatbread (David Krumholtz) fails to co-exist with items in his aisle that he considers inferior; and more. The film emerges as a razor-sharp reflection of religious fundamentalists and an exploration of how obsession with perfection can result in exclusion and discrimination of anyone who doesn’t live up to impossible standards.
Sound too preachy? Well, rest assured that Sausage Party is far from high and mighty. It’s definitely a tender and insightful comedy, but it’s also as crude as they come. The villain is literally a douche — as in the personal hygiene device. Better yet, Nick Kroll portrays him as an obnoxious dude-bro, thus embodying the pejorative meaning of the word “douche.” He’s a riot — one of the best characters you’ll see on any screen this year.
The other characters are more wholesome. Rogen gracefully carries the film and turns into a hero who makes you want to stand up and cheer. And as his love interest, Wiig is the perfect blend of sassy and sweet. They are the heart of the film — the soft spot beneath all of the hard-R humor. This isn’t just a goofy gross-out comedy; it’s a smart satire with a generous soul. You’ll be laughing, quoting lines and thinking about its themes long after you leave the theater.
This review doesn’t even cover half of the film’s qualities. Written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Sausage Party is packed wall-to-wall with laughs and profound ideas. It’s everything you want out of a summer comedy spectacle. I’ve heard some call it “hard-R Pixar” and others call it a “piss-take on Veggie Tales.” But I’d say Sausage Party is one of a kind — the most strikingly original film of the year so far.