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Having the idea for Sausage Party and then executing it so delightfully are worlds apart.
Its premise likely emerged from the haze of stoner ramblings, and could easily have been dismissed as a one-note joke that was funny in the moment but didn't have the legs for a feature film. Which is all the more likely considering the story was co-created by Seth Rogen, one of the world's most famous weed smokers, alongside his old writing cohort Evan Goldberg and pal Jonah Hill.
Seth Rogen and his cohorts are not only able to elongate this joke/premise into a gloriously enjoyable feature film, but they also evolve and create a universe of such vivid imagination and depth that it'll take a while for you to eat a hot dog, bun, lettuce, taco, bagel, potato, carrot, or even wipe your ass with toilet paper without thinking of the film.
They do it ingeniously, too. Because, legitimately, Sausage Party is part Toy Story, part The Lego Movie, part Team America, and part Book Of Mormon, all with the sheen and vigor of Chuck Jones animation, but which, despite its influences, is still very much it's own glorious monstrosity. Most importantly of all, though, Sausage Party is ridiculously funny. It delivers a variety of laughs that range from the silly to the outrageously absurd, via puns and gloriously unfiltered X-rated filth, while it even riffs on the Middle Eastern conflict and the influence of religion, too
Sausage Party unfolds in a world where food and other supermarket items are anthropomorphic and coexist with humans, who are unfortunately oblivious to the fact that the products they're purchasing, eating, and using are actually alive. These products live their lives mistaking humans for Gods, and pining for the day that they're purchased and then taken to The Great Beyond. Little do they know that when that occurs, humans unknowingly consume them in a painful and torturous fashion.
After finally being selected together, Frank (a sausage voiced by Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend Brenda (a bun voiced by Kristen Wiig) are headed towards The Great Beyond when a returned honey mustard jar (Danny McBride) informs them of the perils of the outside world. An altercation leads the couple to be thrown out of the shopping trolley. An intrigued Frank and wary Brenda then tour the now closed supermarket for further answers, all while a furious Douche (Nick Kroll) seeks vengeance after Frank accidentally broke his nozzle in the accident.
Packaged as an uncomplicated, preposterously bright animation that could easily, and actually has been, misconstrued as child friendly, this style is juxtaposed with scandalous and increasingly surprising and deplorable content that makes each joke and use of profanity feel that little bit more scandalous. Importantly, this allows it to pleasingly build rather than fade away.
The fact that it's preposterous characters are telling both juvenile jokes and approaching serious themes makes it all the more alluring, as well as bewildering, especially since Sausage Party holds each laugh in the same esteem and is always willing to abandon its pretenses in favor of a funnier joke. Sausage Party fully takes advantage of its audience dropping their guard, as its playful, cutesy naïve characters unleash a verbal tirade of expletives that never actually grow old, and get up to antics that you never imagined would ever be animated.
Once again, Seth Rogen finds a new and delightfully cinematic way to bring his warm, personable presence to the big-screen, and continues his undervalued hot-streak over the last 11 years that has seen most of his films, especially those he's written and directed with Evan Golberg, prove to both critical and financial hits.
Aware of just how audacious an undertaking Sausage Party was, Rogen and Goldberg co-wrote the film alongside Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, while handing directing duties to first-timer Greg Tiernan and veteran Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted). But while Rogen's Frank scoots around carrying the heft of the plot, he selflessly allows the stellar vocal cast of Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, David Krumholtz, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, and a sensational Nick Kroll to steal the limelight. And they each revel in the truly unique world that they've been brought into.
There are so many moments of delight and hilarity that it's hard to keep track. Anything that comes out of the increasingly volatile Douche from Kroll produces at least a smile, while a piece of gum resembling one of the world's most famous minds, the barbaric way a sausage gets out of a tight predicament, and scandalous closing act are all instantly memorable. But what's more impressive is that Sausage Party is able to recreate the same wit, energy, affection and genuine camaraderie that we've come to associate with the bromance genre, but this time in animation form.
Sure, Sausage Party lasts a little too long and feels slightly strained at its conclusion, but it's worth it for its final joke and tease. Plus, when you're having the most fun that you'll have in a cinema this year, you won't mind an extra few minutes of gut-wrenching hilarity and depravity. It's seriously that much fun.