SETH Rogen leads an ensemble of actors lending their voices to Sausage Party, an animated comedy certainly not for children that acts as an underwhelming exploration of what would happen if the food that we eat actually had feelings.
Frank (Rogen) is part of a packet of sausages that, along with the rest of their food counterparts, await the so-called Great Beyond, a term used for the moment they are picked by a customer. Besotted with hog-dog bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig), Frank endeavors for the moment they are bought together assuming it leads to paradise. They are unaware though of the purpose they serve.
When an incident in their supermarket leaves Frank separated from his pack and several other food items including Brenda, a lesbian taco (Salma Hayek) and a bagel (Edward Norton) also stranded where to their horror the foods learn what fate awaits them. They are therefore forced to work together throughout the night to prepare for a showdown with the next day’s customers, expected as part of a big sale purchase. As well as that, Frank also needs to find a way to succeed against Douche (Nick Kroll) a hygiene product that bears a grudge against him.
In another part, so-called cowardly sausage Barry (Michael Cera), now aware of his purpose, finds himself having to get back to the supermarket after barely escaping from his owner, bringing him face-to-face with foods also trying to escape their marijuana-using owner (James Franco).
On paper, this sounds like a very interesting premise. It is not every day that people will look at food and imagine if it has feelings, so a film like this offers something unique and having it in animation adds a further twist. The result though does leave one disappointed as for the majority, the film fails to provide the humorous touch expected. Save for several funny moments and one key scene which delivers the surprise factor, it is not until twenty minutes in that the film starts to bringing the hysterics a film like this should deliver consistently.
One area that the film does succeed in with flying colours is its frequent usage of surrealist moments, leaving one forgiven for having the term WTF come into mind. The conclusion of the film in particular in which an orgy is depicted (and yes, this involves food) leaves one wondering why we are laughing. Suffice to say at the time of this review, one has not seen one but one will likely not look at a hot dog bun the same way again.
In the most thought-provoking sequence (if this term really does apply) the sausages that made it to their owner’s home find out just exactly what the Great Beyond really is. Cue a montage of ‘murder’ scenes involving bacon rashers and tacos being cooked and you have a moment where rarely have you felt so guilty for letting out a chortle, not helped with the foul-mouthed reactions heard.
The actions of the Douche character also contribute to why this film should have had no trouble being funny throughout, namely when he proceeds to control the bored worker at the store during the showdown in a unconventional way, to put that mildly.
It is a shame though that so many jokes up to the final act fall flat, which is what stops this film from being a flat-out success. Kicking off with a not-so memorable musical number, before the real storyline takes in, that gives the viewer time to laugh as we look at the lifestyles of the foods. What is talked about feels forgettable and lacking with the direction that sets us up for a potentially entertaining ride.
Though that is just the start, it continues that way a lot and at one point, we fear that there is going to be cause to see this as a through-and-through disappointment.
The premise is intriguing and you could argue that the selling point is the adult animation sector which suits the story and without Seth Rogen and co, chances are this film would not have been made. It is the occasional times when the film is very funny that we feel a sense that those were worth seeing the film but it is the fact that there could have been so much more to give that frustrates.
There is a sense too that when the film tries to do something edgy, it does not provoke enough of a reaction. When the film plays with potentially edgy humour, it does not feel funny nor offensive, it is just there acting almost like filler, which stops the film from featuring a potentially funnier scene, a scenario that happens more than its fair share.
Two thirds of the film are a disappointment but a third of it is what stops Sausage Party from being wholly disappointing, suggesting that Rogen and co have some work to do if they are to make another film like this, which might work.