Seth Rogen has admitted he smokes weed to aid his creative process, which might explain the likes of This Is the End, a movie where he hangs out with his real life buddies smoking weed. It’s certainly no surprise to learn that’s how animated adventure Sausage Party came about, a movie that's basically Toy Story with food and about a million d*** jokes.
The story follows a sausage named Frank (Rogen) who discovers what happens when food is taken home, and must try to warn his friends of the danger they all face. It’s the reluctant hero setup of any number of classic animated adventures, but Sausage Party has fun playing with the familiar tropes. It opens with a cheerful song, there are colourful supporting characters, and a lesson about morality, but being an adult comedy it’s a good deal darker.
There's playful violence, constant F-bombs and lots of gross-out humour. Sausage Party gets by on a reliable stream of belly laughs, and even if a few gags bomb there’s always a couple more around the corner. If you don’t like Rogen’s slacker humour this definitely won’t be the movie to turn you around, but if you enjoy his style this is more of the same.
The biggest issue with Sausage Party is it feels like a great twenty-minute sketch padded to feature-length. There’s a subplot about a villainous douche that stops the movie dead, and the narrative feels aimless around the midway mark. The characters wander about and the decent jokes dry up, and while it recovers in time for the utterly insane finale it could easily shed entire scenes and little would be lost.
The animation itself is surprisingly cute; there are lots of visually inventive scenes like a sausage being trapped on a street, and the actors are well suited to their roles. Rogen had a lot of fun assigning each item of food a distinct stereotype personality; the potatoes are Irish, the tacos Mexican, and Ed Norton provides a hilarious Jewish whine as a bagel.
The crew behind Sausage Party clearly had a great time making it, but while it’s breezy fun it’s not likely to stick with you long. There are a couple of inspired scenes mixed with plenty of chuckles, but even at a short ninety-minute runtime it feels stretched thin. If you laughed at the trailer give it a shot, just be sure to know that while it riffs on Pixar’s work, it’s nowhere near the same league.
Words by Padraig Cotter