Seth Rogen’s latest comedy was released and it’s a little different from his previous work or any comedy for that matter. It possesses the appearance of yet another children’s animated tale revolving around something that wouldn’t normally talk. It is this odd feeling of familiarity and the expectations involved when watching a kids movie combined with Rogen’s brand of humor that clash together to form something never really executed on film before; an R-rated comedy about food encased in a shell that appears child-friendly. Having seen his past films, I knew that I was going to get a lot of pot and sex jokes. But with flawless delivery and B-rate animation resembling a Pixar knockoff, the comedy comes entirely from contradiction.
The film picks up at a super market full of talking/feeling food. Living under the impression that humans are gods, they strive to be chosen by them to leave the market and go to what they think is an eternal place of happiness. But once a returned item makes its way back into the store, he quickly tells them the reality of the situation. It is then that Seth Rogen’s protagonist, who takes the form of a hot dog and not a sausage as the title suggests, feels the need to tell all the other foods about the purchase of food for human consumption. Along the way, he is trying to strengthen his relationship with a particular hot dog bun (played by Kristen Wiig) in order to fulfill his purpose. And with a hot dog trying to get inside a bun, an endless amount of sex jokes are delivered as a result.
Once the movie opens and the food begin their daily musical number, the theater roared into laughter. But with the lyrics quickly transitioning into four-letter words, you begin to realize what you are in for. In terms of parodying a children’s movie, the film is perfect in doing so. They look like children’s characters but act the polar opposite. This movie deserves its R-rating. The language is vile, the humor goes over the line and the sexual innuendos are through the roof. The entire gimmick is the clash of the innocent appearance with the not-so-innocent characters. Seeing food being eaten alive will permanently alter my perception of eating. There are so many scenes, particularly one involving all of the food in the final act, that I cannot un-see. For that, I applaud the film for its originality and its willingness to make violent comedy out of buying/eating food. The laughs will come consistently throughout the duration of the story. Adults who have seen a lot of kid’s movies will find the comedy in the formula it is trying to satirize. This is a very memorable movie that will stick with the viewer for quite some time.
It may seem like this film is relying on sex jokes and stoner humor, but its self-awareness and underlying themes propel the plot into a slight feeling of maturity. The topics of race, religion, politics and clashing cultural values are addressed. The ethnic foods from other countries are portrayed in a somewhat stereotypical way that can be seen as outdated or even racist, but the film addresses the fact that they are clichés. Because the film knows exactly what it is doing, the audience can see this film for the satire that it is. Through this living food, a lot of relevant social issues are touched upon and it threw me off guard in a good way. I went in expecting a comedy composed of dirty humor and easy laughs and left pleasantly surprised at the effort behind it all.
That all being said, this film drags on for a bit. With an already short runtime of 88 minutes, that is a problem. Hearing a hot dog spew profanity can only be funny for so long. It felt like a joke for an hour-long Comedy Central broadcast was stretched into a feature-length movie. As much as I enjoyed what the film had to offer with so many surprises and sparks of originality, the joke ran stale after a while. It felt longer than it is. The whole children’s movie gimmick wore off and I found myself hoping the film would wrap it up. The trailers were also deceiving in that it didn’t take the direction that was expected. Most of it takes place inside the super market which didn’t bring the film down, but it didn’t line up with certain expectations. Although I laughed throughout, a lot of the film’s charm lost its appeal after an hour passed by.
The movie was a surprise and it is a lot better than it had any right to be. The wide cast of comedic stars (such as Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek) were all wonderfully cast in their roles. To avoid spoilers, Nick Kroll voices a villain that takes the form of a certain feminine product. He stood out as the most suiting vocal performance for his type of character. I applaud the film for its originality, well-executed parody of children’s movie formula and solid balance of stupid humor with well-crafted satire. The clever execution behind the issues addressed made up for the slight lack of laughter as the film dragged on with a stretched premise. It wasn’t afraid to go Meta with its own outlandish gags. Keep in mind, this film is not even remotely for anyone under the age of 17 or 18. This is a hard “R” that is on the border of going too far. So those that are easily offended or not fond of off-color humor should stay at home. But those who appreciate a dirty joke or the typical Rogen brand of comedy will certainly have a good time with this one. It is original and worthy of a theatrical experience. “Sausage Party” (although about a hot dog) is currently playing in theaters everywhere. 3.7/5