Animated movies have long been considered a medium for children. Pixar and Disney Animation have dominated the spectrum with heartfelt, touching movies like Finding Dory and Zootopia. Which is why the drastic departure from these family movies makes Sausage Party so much fun. Our recent interview with the Sausage Party directors dives a bit more into why the film was made, but before you read any further, just know that this is not a children’s movie.
Sausage Party is not the first R-rated animated movie to be released, but it is the first to be widely distributed by a big studio. That’s the first sign this movie is very different. That and the fact that there are no cute police bunnies or adorable blue tang fish.
Instead, we are introduced to Frank (Seth Rogen) and his sausage pack buddies, Barry (Michael Cera) and Carl (Jonah Hill), as the opening song number begins their worship of humans. The overt religious criticism is not hard to miss.
“It’s just a super nice way of showing the Gods how much we appreciate everything they’ll do for us once they take us out those doors to The Great Beyond,” Carl says.
Frank and his buddies are joined by his girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a hot dog bun and the rest of her pack. The sexual imagery of inserting a sausage into a bun is immediately played upon. One day, both Frank and Brenda are selected by a God along with other products, including Honey Mustard (Danny McBride), who was returned after being mistaken for regular Mustard, and Douche (Nick Kroll).
The Douche character tells you everything you need to know about the movie. Not only is his name ridden with sexual innuendo, but he turns out to be the antagonist who most lives up to his moniker.
As the day begins at Shopwell’s, the run-of-the-mill grocery store where the film takes place, the food eagerly await to be chosen by the Gods, or humans, to be taken to The Great Beyond, their home.
But they soon find out The Great Beyond isn’t what it seems. Having seen the sordid truth of what humans do to food, Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) refuses to witness those atrocities again, and threatens to ruin their concept of what The Great Beyond is by attempting to commit suicide. Confused, Frank tries to save him but fails and a war-like murder of food ensues.
The hilarious over-stylized deaths of fruits and sugar bags is nothing short of comedy gold. In the aftermath, Frank, Brenda, Vash (David Krumholtz) and Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) join together to return to their aisle and find new packages to be selected once again by the Gods.
Sausage Party was in the works for nearly a decade as studios were weary of the suggestive material Rogen was pitching about hot dogs and buns and their sexual escapades. Its tiny budget of $19 million pales in comparison to those handed out to Pixar movies ($200 million).
An animated movie with a budget this small cannot hang with Pixar movies, but it makes a respectable effort. One area where the movie does keeps up and maybe even surpasses its more expensive contemporaries is with voice work. Nick Kroll and Edward Norton in particular, stand out.
Sausage Party does not hold back and is not afraid to tackle difficult themes. Some jokes are hilarious, some are downright racist, but when you target every demographic, it all evens out in the world of comedy.
That’s where the charm of this movie lies: in its satirical observation of the real world. Sure, it’s funny to see a sausage play hookie with a bun and all the sexual innuendo that’s involved, but the diverse cast of characters isn’t afraid to make fun of ethnic tropes while making an attempt to keep each one equal.
You’ll get what you pay for: a raunchy, unapologetic animated film that doesn’t hold anything back, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.