Verge Reviews: Sausage Party

Seth Rogen and co. are back with the most outrageous comedy of the year.

I love Seth Rogen. I think that along with his writing partner Evan Goldberg and the supreme-producer Judd Apatow he was completely rejuvenated and revitalised the comedy genre and has turned himself into one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men.

From The 40 Year Old Virgin to his first leading role in Knocked Up to his brilliant writing of Superbad, Pineapple Express and This Is The End, it seems his hugely successful films all follow the Rogen blueprint: superb writing, hilarious storylines, (a lot of) drug references and relatable, funny characters. Sausage Party is the latest Rogen/Goldberg collaboration to follow these guidelines, and as you would expect, it’s as outrageous as ever.

With a budget of just $19 million and the joint animation power of Nitrogen Studios and Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sausage Party is an animated comedy with a twist…it’s aimed at adults. Hardly surprising when you consider Rogen’s previous work.

The film; directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, developed by the trio of Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill and written by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg is about a hotdog sausage called Frank who longs to be taken with his hot-dog buddies and girlfriend to ‘The Great Beyond’ but once chosen, learns the awful truth of what ‘The Gods’ have planned for their kind. Amazing right? A rude, animated adult film about a cursing, virgin sausage. Genius.

But it’s not just the wild and out-there storyline that makes this film great.

It is clever in so many ways. Sausage Party is set in a supermarket that offers international foods and drinks; from the ‘dodgy’ Mexican tequila to the posh English tea and even, the German Third Reich products. A world is created that plays to every national stereotype that you could come to expect from the foods. As well as creating humour, it also shows you a touching journey between two supporting characters, a Middle-Eastern lavash and a Jewish Bagel.

These two famously do not get along after the Bagels and Lavash’s squabble over who should have the most shelf space but they soon realise they have a lot more in common than you would think. Mainly hummus, it turns out. This example is one of many that manages to turn an adult animated stoner-comedy into a rather touching film that is layered with heartfelt, liberal religious messages.

As is usual in a Goldberg and Rogen movie, the casting is spot on and includes a familiar line-up of A-list actors lending their voices to various foods and condiments including James Franco, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Danny McBride, Bill Hader and Craig Robinson as well as Hollywood legends Salma Hayek and Edward Norton. The characters are all so cleverly written and so funny that you just can’t stop laughing right from the off. Kristen Wiig and Michael Cera in particular benefit from the brilliant writing and are the perfect fit for their characters.

Wiig plays Frank’s girlfriend Brenda, a wonderfully flirty but naive hot-dog bun and Michael Cera plays Barry, a deformed sausage who tries his best to overcome his cowardly tendencies once he realises the truth about ‘The Gods.’ Bill Hader and Craig Robinson give typically fun performances as ‘The Non-Perishables’ and Nick Kroll gives a worryingly believable performance as a pretty messed up Douche.

On a personal note, I would’ve loved to have seen more of Jonah Hill’s character Carl, an excitable sausage who seems unable to question his beliefs about ‘The Gods’ until it’s too late, and as a huge fan of James Franco, it would’ve been nice to have seen him with a slightly more integral part than the Druggie. Those two small nags aside, though, the casting of Sausage Party is pretty much faultless.

The Animation is excellent. OK, it’s not Finding Dory or Toy Story, but in my eyes, that’s exactly what Sausage Party should’ve avoided. It’s a rude, comical take on the innocent world of food. A world in which sausages want to have sex with buns and where Native-American liquors get high on the produce of their land. That’s not to say it lacks any kind of production value, though, keep your eyes peeled for a fantastic Saving Private Ryan -esque scene following a shopping cart collision and the horrifying and gruesome human encounter where Carl and Barry finally make it to their God’s house.

The animators have worked wonders with not just the characterisation of the food but also manage to perfectly capture what it would be like to be taken from the colourful, vibrant and air-conditioned haven of the supermarket to the scary Human world, with gum, needles and even condoms on the floor.

Sausage Party then is yet another smash hit and stroke of genius from Rogen and Goldberg. In my eyes, it gives their fans everything they want and have come to expect from these two powerhouses of comedy. I’m really struggling to even consider ways it can be marked down. I guess maybe there are just a tad too many supermarket scenes without Frank’s friends Carl and Barry and maybe the ending will be a bit too far for some people. But I absolutely loved it. From start to finish, it’s a sizzling, summer delight that puts Sausage Party right up there with Superbad and This Is The End as their best work to date.

Rating: 4.5/5