Cert: 15 / 89 mins / Dir. Greg Tiernan & Conrad Vernon / Trailer
Hot on the tail of some less-than-stellar publicity comes Sausage Party, the all-animated comedy from the minds behind Bad Neighbours and This Is The End. And yeah, they're films I didn't particularly love. Luckily, it's also from the minds behind Superbad; a movie chiselled into my all-time top ten. I may moan about some of the crap they churn out, but I do have a lot of time for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. And who doesn't want to see a film with a swearing frankfurter, right?
Life in the supermarket is pretty rosy for the groceries. Every day is spent gleefully hoping they're chosen by the gods and taken into The Beyond, to be looked after forever more. But when a returned jar of Honey Mustard tells Frank (the frankfurter, Rogen) and Brenda (a bun, voiced by Kristen Wiig) of the awful fate that awaits them beyond the automatic doors, the fabric of their belief-system is torn apart as they have to fight to escape, to survive and to convince the other groceries to work together for an uncertain freedom rather than accept an assured doom…
Yes, it's that heavy-handed. It's funny, but not at all delicate. The film has three levels of gag in its arsenal. 1) Food-puns and dick-jokes, often combined, 2) Broad racial/cultural generalisations based on the origin of any particular food, and c) Socio-political and socio-religious satire. This is all well and good in itself and executed with the subtlety (and accompanying foul-language) you'd expect. But the screenplay has already reached the third rung of its ladder by the end of the first act, meaning everything which follows is just rehashing the same points, but more loudly each time.
Tonally, the film is a little like a 22-minute South Park episode that got out of hand. The animation's great, the voice-work is mostly seamless in tandem with that, and the film holds the audience's attention throughout. While this will be a great film to watch with some friends after getting in from the pub, there's not enough there to warrant re-watching in the future. Superbad has a surprisingly soft-centre, but this is hard-candy all the way through.
Sausage Party is consistently funny, but it's nowhere near as clever or insightful as it repeatedly thinks it is; just the effortless master of the single-entendre…
South Park: The Movie is its closest spiritual cinematic relative.
Only to marvel at the high-res texturing.
There's nothing else that won't work equally well at home.
You bet your ass, there is.
Level 1: Bill 'BB-8' Hader's on voice-duty here.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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