At the movies: “Sausage Party”
Special to Lake Tahoe Action
“Sausage Party,” an animated comedy written by Seth Rogen and frequent collaborator, Evan Goldberg, rewards viewers with a half dozen enjoyable segments.
According to the urban dictionary, a sausage party is a social gathering at which males substantially outnumber females. Since males comprise most of the characters featured in this film, the punny reference is correct, and incidentally refers to the package of hot dogs that houses two central personalities.
Each morning, prior to opening the store, grocery items in every aisle sing a hymn extolling the gods (human shoppers), and the rewards that await groceries in “the great beyond.” In order to be selected by the gods, the food items attempt to live virtuously, strongly repressing the sexual urges they obsess over.
An end hot dog in his package of eight, Frank (Rogen) has long yearned to get inside the curvaceous Brenda (Kristen Wiig), an end bun residing in a neighboring package. She likes Frank, too, but is determined to remain pristine so that she and Frank may eternally indulge their desires in “the great beyond.”
The plot challenges efforts to qualify for a heavenly afterlife by examining the experience of these self-aware groceries. While Frank undergoes a rude awakening upon learning of the terrible fate awaiting groceries, Brenda continues to believe in the myth long after hearing the truth.
Meanwhile, a few immortals (nonperishable groceries), such as the Firewater whiskey (who speaks in 1940s American Indian movie dialect), know the truth, but find it expedient to keep that information from the perishables.
After both Brenda and Frank have been selected by a shopper picking up her Fourth of July groceries, they, along with a jar of honey mustard, and a feminine douche of male gender, become involved in a messy shopping cart accident. Now separated from his hot dog package, Frank embarks on an adventure that reveals the cruelty of those they revere as gods.
Meanwhile, a bagel (Edward Norton channeling Woody Allen) and a piece of lavash bread (David Krumholtz), bicker over occupied food territory in the Ethnic Foods aisle. A spicy taco shell (Salma Hayek) falls in girl-to-girl lust with Brenda, and the douche (Nick Kroll) is determined to avenge his anger on Frank, whom he blames for the shopping cart disaster depriving him of his great beyond (Yes, he’s a real douche). Fellow frankfurter Barry (Michael Cera) witnesses the brutality of human food consumption, and makes a perilous beeline back to the store so he can tell his friends.
There’s silly fun in a food orgy, the deaths of several human caused by food attempting to defend itself, and chuckles to be found in an endless barrage of ethnic jokes. Yet, in exchange for each clever punchline, we endure a blathering that exists solely to carpet bomb us with unfunny profanity. At 34 years old, Rogen and Goldberg appear to be clinging to a frat boy mentality. Sony, their go-to studio, lets the bombs fly, perhaps believing these add to the film’s youthful cache (amusingly, my theater checked all IDs at the door, keeping away many of the younger set wishing to see this movie). I appreciate a good cuss-off as much as anyone, but a comedy should either make you laugh or make you think. Numbers don’t lie. Out of 97 f-bombs, 88 do neither.
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