We’ve come to know what to expect from films written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and their stoner brand of comedy has become instantly recognisable. The latest project from the pairing sees their signature humour animated in Sausage Party, directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan. Taking place in a supermarket called Shopwell’s, the plot follows Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage who is packed alongside pork pals Carl (Jonah Hill), Barry (Michael Cera) amongst others. His hotdog bun girlfriend Brenda (Kristen Wig) sits on the same shelf with her doughy friends, and the couple eagerly await being picked up by a human, referred to here as ‘Gods’, and to be taken through the exit to ‘The Great Beyond’ where they can come out of their packaging and be together. After an incident on aisle three, Frank clashes with Douche (Nick Kroll) which leads to a shocking discovery that will change their lives forever.
First of all, the animation on display is visually fantastic, and has the production value of the Pixar movies that it parodies. The directors are veterans in their field and create a feast for the eyes, teaming up with Alan Menken, the Oscar-winning composer who worked on Disney classics such as Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. On the glorious backdrop, the ludicrous story unfolds littered with lurid knob jokes, but with some interesting ideas at play as well. The food stuffs are like an edible version of the Toy Story collective, with a hierarchical structural society, and the plot explores existential themes of mortality, religion and belief systems albeit very jokingly. The writing playfully toys with stereotypes, making the potatoes Irish and the bagel Jewish for two of the more obvious examples, and gets increasingly absurd as the narrative develops, but its heart is always in the right place.
It’s evident that the voice cast had a lot of fun with this script, and all the usual players are involved, bouncing off one another naturally. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera reunite as meaty comrades and James Franco is introduced late on in the proceedings unsurprisingly as a pizza-loving stoner who gets high on bath salts. Ed Norton and David Krumholtz enjoy a bickering rivalry as Sammy Bagel Jr and a flatbread that goes by the name of Kareem Abdul Lavash, and Nick Kroll revels in ranty dialogue as a vaginal douche that serves as the villain of the piece. There are too many others to mention, but all seem to have a great time with it.
Rogen and Goldberg have outdone themselves, joining forces with super talented animators to gather the necessary ingredients to concoct the most bonkers slice of cinema you’ll see this year. It’s silly but satisfying, stupendously stupid and ridiculously funny, jam-packed with witty pop-culture references and gags of all sizes. Admittedly, the style of their work isn’t to everyone’s taste but for fans of previous collaborations, this is one Sausage Party that you wouldn’t want to pass up.