Capturing the shock, awe, and absurdity of a movie such as Sausage Party requires a delicate touch. That is why I decided to not add one more sausage to the party by giving another masculine perspective on a movie so obviously aimed at the male gender. That’s right, the sometimes brilliant, always progressive People’s Critic is both honored and pleased to introduce this month’s guest reviewer, Pamela Kuczewski. Pamela was generous enough to attend a screening of the raunch-fest that is Sausage Party and serve up her perspective on the culinary Caligula.
-The People’s Critic
Directors: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Screenwriters: Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogan, and Evan Goldberg
Cast: Seth Rogan, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Nick Kroll, and James Franco
What happens when you combine loveable stoners, animation, and a lot of penis jokes? Surprisingly, a lot more than I was expecting. As a woman who grew up with an older brother, I was exposed early on to foul language and humor; this upbringing has helped me appreciate what I refer to as “guy movies.” This film most likely falls beneath this category, however it has much more to offer than what “meats” the eye, even for the ladies.
This newest film from buddy writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg explores faith, hope, friendship, and a filling dose of filth, all with an incredible cast of comedians and serious actors alike. The movie opens at a grocery store on a bright morning with food and produce singing their joyful praises to shoppers, or Gods. The song entitled “The Great Beyond,” sets the stage for a fanciful musical number, much like something you’d see in a Disney movie. Picture “Be Our Guest” with more f-bombs. What was more surprising than a jubilant yet inappropriate musical number was that it was composed by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, of Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Aladdin fame. Impressive – I would never have matched Alan Menken music with Seth Rogen lyrics but it absolutely worked. The song represents the foods’ faith and hope in the Gods and that they will be the chosen ones. Little do they know what is really in store for them in The Great Beyond.
Our phallic hero, Frank (Seth Rogen), is introduced with the rest of his horny hot dog friends (Jonah Hill and Anders Holm). Brenda (Kristin Wiig), a hot dog bun, is of course Frank’s curvaceous girlfriend. Already, the language is vulgar and I either can’t stop laughing or am too astounded to laugh. Some food is “chosen” but there’s a tragic accident involving a janky shopping cart wheel, causing the food to capsize out of the cart along with a bag of flour. What follows is a smoky scene that mimics the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, only with food. I’m sure you can imagine. A villain is introduced after this accident – a douche (Nick Kroll) – who feels screwed out of his disgusting destiny and blames Frank and Brenda for the whole thing. Our heroes spend much of the movie being chased by a vengeful douche. Yeah, a douche. This was one of those jokes that should have maybe died early on in the film, but every hero needs an antihero.
What follows the accident is a quest for truth about what really lies in The Great Beyond. Frank’s faith is tested and he learns the truth from Firewater (Bill Hader) a pot-smoking Native American bottle of booze. He discusses the need to inform the others with Brenda, but she can’t see past her blind faith. The truth is confirmed by deformed wiener Barry (Michael Cera) who makes it out of the grocery store and witnesses the horrific cooking and eating of his friends. Somehow, with the help of some misfit food (including an odd Stephen Hawking-esque Gum character), Barry returns to the store to help Frank lead an all-out attack on the Gods.
While the constant hot dog/penis jokes are plentiful – you could say the movie is engorged with them – what lies beneath is a story about faith. Like many people, the silly yet relatable characters wonder what’s real, what’s their purpose, and if seeing is believing. This religious theme, or the “Why are we here?” question, is woven deep into the film and quite well.
High praise goes to the animators and voice actors for giving personality to food. Most every culture and ethnicity is captured exactly how you would envision it: a Jewish bagel (Edward Norton) bickers with a pita bread (David Krumholtz). A taco has the sultry voice of Salma Hayek. Of course the tequila sounds like a drunk Mexican and Mr. Grits is an obvious African American character. The stereotypes may be the least offensive aspect of this movie. If you were offended by the marionette sex in Team America – or enthralled – then prepare for the supermarket orgy. It’s safe to say the orgy gave the movie its name. Honestly, the level of creativity was incredible. Being an R-rated movie, it was interesting to see how much the writers were able to get away with. If my goal in life was to see a hot dog pull anal beads out of a bun, then consider my goal completed.
Sausage Party delivers with laughs, action, romance, faith, and friendship. While raunchy and at times a little too over the top for this chick, it’s not without its “tip-touching” moments. B+
Pamela Kuczewski is both a technical writer and a writer, technically. Hailing from the great state of Michigan, Pamela developed her love for the written word at Western Michigan University. Winona Ryder is her best friend (or so she wishes), and she now lives with the man of her dreams and writes movie reviews for The People’s Critic when she’s not wasting time working 40 hours a week or watching Johnny Depp movies. Follow Pamela on Twitter @prlawrie.