*** stars (out of four)
The marketing of the new R-rated animated film Sausage Party makes it look like nothing more than a parade of double entendres and sexual innuendos. There are plenty of those in the film, but there’s also an imagination, fearlessness, and subversiveness that’s refreshing to see in the dog days of summer.
The film’s anthropomorphic food items eagerly await purchase from the “gods”, which will lead them to the “Great Beyond” where all foods live happily ever after. One day, a can of mustard (voiced by Danny McBride) is returned to the store. He babbles hysterically about the horrors that exist outside the store. This shakes up the worldview of a hot dog (Seth Rogen) and his bun girlfriend (Kristen Wiig). After being separated from the rest of their cart after a purchase, Rogen and Wiig join up with a bagel (Edward Norton) and a lavash (David Krumholtz) as they try to find answers.
The gags are hit and miss, but more often than not, they’re funny. There’s something courageously dark about a mainstream Hollywood movie positing not just that there is no god, but that gods actively seek to torture and destroy life. The violence against the food items is creatively staged, sometimes invoking classic films like Saving Private Ryan. The ending is appropriately loony.
Most studio films play it as safe as they can to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Love it or hate it (and be warned, viewers who don’t like Sausage Party will probably loathe it), Sausage Party is not a timid film. It’s not afraid to be completely insane and that counts for something.