At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Sausage Party “2016”

MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Animated Comedy/ Voices of: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek/ Runtime: 89 minutes

I feel it is safe to start this review off by saying that the premise for Sausage Party likely came about as a byproduct of the haze that stoner rantings often do emerge from plus I also feel the plot could also and just as easily have been dismissed as a one-note joke that was funny in the moment but really didn’t, upon further consideration, truly have the legs for a feature film….a fact which truly does become all the more likely when you find out that the story was co-created by Seth Rogen alongside his usual writing suspect Evan Goldberg as well as pal Jonah Hill.

Yet despite all of these potential obstacles Seth Rogen and co not only elongate this joke/premise into a gloriously enjoyable feature film, but they have also managed to create a world of such vivid imagination and depth that indeed by the time you are done sitting through this film it will take a long time for you to ever even think about eating a hot dog, bun, lettuce, taco, bagel, potato, or carrots, or even wipe your butt with toilet paper without once thinking of the film and in the process this roving gang of potheads has also managed to give us an animated spectacle that is part Toy Story, part Lego Movie, part Team America, and part Book Of Mormon, all with the sheen and vigor of Chuck Jones animation, but is at the same time a film that, despite its influences, is still very much its own glorious monstrosity. Most importantly of all, though, this film delivers a variety of laughs that range from the silly and outrageously absurd to puns and gloriously unfiltered X-rated filth, all the while giving us social commentary on everything from the Middle Eastern conflict to the influence of religion.

The plot is as follows: Sausage Party takes place in a world where food and other supermarket items are alive and coexist with human beings who are absolutely oblivious and totally clueless to the fact that the products they’re purchasing, eating, and using are actually alive while all the while the products themselves blindly live their lives mistaking us for Gods, much to the happiness of people with deity-complexes everywhere, and pining for the day that they are purchased and then taken to “The Great Beyond” aka a human being’s choice of residence where little do they know that upon arrival human beings will proceed to consume or use them in absolutely painful and torturous fashion. That being said after finally being selected together, a sausage named Frank (Seth Rogen) and his bun of a girlfriend named Brenda (Kristen Wiig) are headed towards The Great Beyond when a returned honey mustard jar (Danny McBride) tries to warn them about the perils of the outside world, but when an altercation leads the couple along with a bagel named Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton doing a pretty darn good Woody Allen impersonation) and a lavash named Kareem Abdul Lavash (try not to hurt your brain too much in your hunt for the pun behind THAT one) (David Krumholtz) to be thrown out of the shopping trolley an intrigued Frank, remembering Honey Mustard’s warnings, with a wary Brenda, Sammy, and Kareem in tow decides to tour the now closed supermarket for further answers, all while a furious douche (Nick Kroll) seeks vengeance on Frank after the sausage accidentally broke his nozzle in the accident.

Now this film has found itself packaged as an uncomplicated, preposterously bright animated piece that could easily be, and actually has been (no surprise there though), misconstrued as child friendly, but upon closer inspection shows that it possess a style which is juxtaposed with extremely scandalous and increasingly surprising and deplorable content that makes each joke and use of profanity feel that little bit more filthy. Yet it is this style that allows the film to pleasingly build rather than fade away as the fact that the film’s characters are telling these absolutely juvenile and frat boyish jokes while also simultaneously approaching and even dealing with some truly serious and adult themes makes this film all the more alluring as well as bewildering considering Sausage Party really does hold each laugh in the same esteem and is always, and boy do I mean always, willing to abandon its pretenses in favor of a funnier joke. Indeed Sausage Party manages to fully take advantage of its audience dropping their guard, as what we as an audience perceive as playful, cutesy naïve characters as soon as the film start to unleash a verbal tirade of expletives that never get old, and get caught up in antics, such as the truly Lord of the Flies in its savageness way a sausage gets out of a tight predicament, or the absolutely, completely, and truly irrevocable scandalous and unforgettable closing act, that you never ever in your wildest dreams imagined would ever be put in an animated film and then shown to us as an audience and I can guarantee you will not be bored at any point in this movie from the moment it opens right up to the end credits.

Also once again, Seth Rogen has managed to find yet again another new and delightfully cinematic way to bring his warm, personable presence to the big-screen and as a result manages to continue his seriously undervalued in Hollywood hot-streak of the last 11 years that has seen most of his films, especially those he’s written with Evan Goldberg, prove to both critical and financial hits alive, well, and, pardon the pun, smoking hot and due to being completely and totally aware of just how audacious an undertaking this film was going to be Rogen and Goldberg decided to co-write the film alongside Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir while handing directing duties to Greg Tiernan, who before this had directed episodes of Thomas and Friends (yes THAT Thomas and Friends), and veteran Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted) and they all deliver in spades with both directors directing this with almost a childlike sense of madness for the escapades that follow but also with an adult like sense of maturity for when it comes time for the adult themes that are present in this film to rear their heads and while it’s Rogen’s Frank that scoots around the movie carrying the bulk of the plot, he selflessly allows a stellar vocal cast comprised of Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, an enjoyable Michael Cera (!), James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd (on loan from Marvel), David Krumholtz, Salma Hayek, an absolutely enjoyable and more relaxed than he has been as of late if ever Edward Norton, and a sensational Nick Kroll to steal the limelight and not only do they all deliver but they all also truly revel and embrace the truly unique world that they, through their characters, have been brought into and yet at the same time we even get to see the same wit, energy, affection and genuine camaraderie that we’ve come to associate with this particular group of film actors and the various films they’ve all been in together through the years, but this time we get it in an animated format.

All in all some critics may tell you that Sausage Party lasts a little too long and that it feels slightly strained at the conclusion of all the madness, but honestly it’s absolutely worth it for this film’s final joke and tease. Plus let’s face it everyone: when you’re watching a movie that really truly is this much fun, you’ll find yourself milking every single moment of this movie’s comical madness for all that it is worth. Honestly Sausage Party is a true triumph and like Deadpool earlier in 2016 made it possible for R-rated superhero movies to finally be seen as a viable option for Hollywood to start taking seriously then Sausage Party is going to do the same for R-rated adult animated films as there is really truly is no movie out there quite like this one. On a scale of 1-5 I give Sausage Party a solid 4 out of 5.