Friday, August 12, 2016

Seth Rogen & Co. Throw An Animated SAUSAGE PARTY That Couldn’t Be Cruder

Now playing at a multiplex near you:


(Dirs. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon, 2016)

If you’ve ever gone to a Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks animated production and wished that it had lots of profanity, dirty jokes, and graphic sex, then Seth Rogen and a bunch of his comedy colleagues have the movie for you!

It’s the R-rated crude comic adventure romp SAUSAGE PARTY, which takes place largely in a supermarket (the fictitious grocery store Shopwell’s to be exact), and stars the SUPERBAD team of Rogen, Michael Cera, and Jonah Hill as hot dog sausages, who dream of getting picked by customers, who they call gods, and taken to their new home which they call “The Great Beyond.”

The sausages are on a shelf as part of the store’s 4th of July weekend sale next to a bag of hot dog buns (in this world, sausages are male and buns are female). Rogen’s character, named Frank of course, is in love with a bun named Brenda, voiced by Kristen Wiig.

We learn through laughter that in the store full of talking food items the different aisles represent different nationalities and cultures. So there’s a Jewish bagel (voiced by Edward Norton doing his best Woody Allen impression) named Sammy Bagel Jr., who feuds with an Arabic flatbread (David Krumholtz) named Vash; a jar of honey mustard (named Honey Mustard, and voiced by Danny McBride); a lesbian taco named Teresa (Salma Hayek) who lusts after Brenda; an old Native American bottle of liquor named Firewater (Bill Hader, who also voices a guacamole gangster named El Guaco); and the villain of the piece: a feminine hygiene product, that’s right a douche named Douche, voiced by Nick Kroll amping up his best angry New Yorker accent.

The film’s story involves Rogen and his sausage pals getting picked along with the buns by a shopper named Camille (Lauren Miller-Rogen), but things quickly go awry when Honey Mustard, who’s been returned and has seen what really happens to food on the outside, tries to warn everyone in the cart that “The Great Beyond” is bullshit and they are being taken to their deaths. Not being able to convince anyone, Honey Mustard goes to leap off of the cart and Frank gets out of his bag to try to save him. A collision with another cart causes a massive mess of food destruction that is shot like a war scene a la SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

The chaos leaves Frank and Brenda stranded away from their friends still in the cart and far from their home aisle. They hook up with Sammy Bagel Jr. and Vash and go on a journey to find out if what Honey Mustard (R.I.P.) was saying was true. The foursome find Firewater, who Honey Mustard told Frank to seek out, in the liquor section, and Frank gets the lowdown in a peace pipe of pot smoking session that includes joined by a couple of Non-Perishables: Mr. Grits (a box of slang talking grits voiced by Craig Robinson) and Twink (a twinkie voiced by Scott Underwood).

Meanwhile, the food that didn’t get killed in the crash finds out for themselves their fate when they reach the home kitchen of Camille and she proceeds to prepare dinner, which to them means their violent slaughter. Frank’s best friend Barry (Hill) is able to escape and encounters a human druggie, named Druggie (voiced by James Franco appropriately) with a Shopwell’s bag so he tags along with him in hopes of getting back to the store. Back at Druggie’s messy apartment, which, of course, resembles Franco’s pad in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, Druggie shoots up bath salts and tweaks so hard that he can hear and understand the food, and agrees to help Barry get back.

The film’s last third involves Frank trying to convince the others that the so-called gods are going to kill them, but he finds resistance until he realizes that he must respect the beliefs of his fellow food items (an actual moral!). A war between the food and the humans ensues, and then the climax everyone’s been waiting for: an epic 8-miunte orgy that you can never unsee.

This is where the animators went all outrageously out. The film's directors, Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, are veterans of tons of animated children's features (Tiernan has made many Thomas the Tank Engine shorts; Vernon directed SHREK 2, MONSTERS vs. ALIENS, and MADAGASCAR 3), so every raunchy idea they've been holding back all these years got to break free.

Although the novelty of f-bomb dropping cartoon food characters wears thin at times, there are consistent laughs throughout SAUSAGE PARTY. That is, is you’re a fan of Rogen and company’s brand of scatological stoner humor. I don’t know how much longer Rogen, who wrote the movie with his frequent collaborators Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir, can put out these crude zany bromances, but I like that they’re placing their man-child themes inside a different genre, or at least, a different-looking genre.

So I commend Rogen and his buddies on making the first ever R-rated CG-animated comedy, which goes a long way in showing that these guys have no plans to grow up anytime soon.

More later...

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