Thu, 15 Sept 2016
Sausage Party (15)
Running time 1hr 29mins
THE concept behind Sausage Party isn’t new. In fact, there’sa history of made-for-adult animations. 1972’s Fritz the Cat comes to mind, alongside Jungle Burger, released three years later. Both featured X-rated content designed to stand out against a format that was largely populated with children’s fare.
On the small screen, material like this is common – and extremely popular. There’s The Simpsons, the progenitor of contemporary satirical animated comedy, with its cross-generational appeal; and then there’s other more adult-orientated shows like Beavis and Butthead, South Park, King of the Hill and Family Guy.
Animation has also been used as a platform for darker material – the stirring nuclear war drama When the Wind Blows, Lebanon War documentary Waltz with Bashir and comic book adaptation A Scanner Darkly all stand out. There’s also Japanese animé, of course – an animation subgenre that’s huge both in scope and popularity.
Basically, although you may feel like Sausage Party is innovative in its subversion of the medium of
animation, alongside themes and subject matter, it isn’t big and it isn’t that clever.
Essentially one long joke, it takes the common CGI trope employed by Disney and its brethren of anthropomorphising inanimate objects or non-human characters, and throwing them into the midst of an adventure. As is customary, they then have to overcome obstacles on the way to a happy ending.
In this case, our hero is a frankfurter sausage named Frank (Seth Rogen). The film’s creators then add swearing and sexual content into the mix to turn it on its head. As proven by the likes of South Park, however, in animation you can get away with murder – and Sausage Party certainly pushes boundaries with its dialogue and ethnic representations as well as its visuals and, at times, inventiveness.
So, the story. Set in a supermarket, all the products are alive and living in harmony, unbeknown to the human shoppers. They hope one day to be among the chosen – plucked from the shelf and popped in the trolley on their way to a better life with the ‘gods’ in the outside world. But when a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) is returned, he reveals the full horror of life outside the supermarket. The others dismiss this ranting wreck as crazy but as an intimate washing product (Nick Kroll) goes rogue, and hotdog sausage Barry (Michael Cera) experiences the outside world for himself and returns to tell the tale, Frank and his would-be bun girlfriend, Brenda (Kristen Wiig) start to believe. The supermarket residents eventually work together to overthrow the regime, turning on the gods in an effort to put a stop to being consumed.
With a great voice cast that reads like a who’s who of Hollywood’s in-vogue comedy actors – Jonah Hill, James Franco, Bill Hader and Paul Rudd are also among those with roles – plus a script peppered with gags, there’s enough to appreciate on a basic level even if it never feels like more than a gimmick.