Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon | Written by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg, with the story by Rogen, Goldberg, and Jonah Hill | 89 min | ▲▲▲△△
Rarely, if ever, have I seen a movie that felt more like the product of a bunch of dudes sitting around, getting really high, and spitballing story ideas. Given Rogen’s image—which he doesn’t do much to discourage—of a chronic pot smoker, it all makes a certain kind of sense: The movie a weed-lover’s amalgam of Pixar’s sweet animated tales of the secret life of cars, bugs, toys, rats, etc., applied to food. Oh, and it’s very R-rated.
Rogen is a sausage named Frank, naturally, who lives in a supermarket in a package with seven other sausages. It’s his dream, as it is of every other packaged food product, to be chosen by the gods—that’s us humans—and taken out the door to the Great Beyond, where he will find perfect happiness and lots of sex. What he doesn’t realize that what awaits all food is painful death via mastication. Oh, the horror.
The world of international cuisine gives the filmmakers the opportunity to play with cultural and ethnic stereotypes, but in the most obvious way possible. Dressing up a bottle of “firewater” in Native American gear, or casting Salma Hayek as a taco, none of that seems terribly inspired. The shots taken at religious hypocrisy and fundamentalism feel a lot more successful, having fun with characters who pretty much believe in the same salvation but still find reason to argue the finer points. Also, Kristen Wiig as a hot dog bun named Brenda is pretty terrific.
If you’re surprised that an R-rated Pixar homage dreamt up by Seth Rogen and friends ends in drugs, violence and sex, you haven’t been paying attention. Sausage Party is maybe more sophisticated than you’d expect, but is really aimed at our baser needs. Not unlike a bag of Doritos.