Here’s the list of ingredients for every Seth Rogen adult, raunchy comedy:
– 15% original, funny, clean material
– 20% original, funny but inappropriate material
– 25% unoriginal, unfunny, inappropriate material
– and 40% filler
His latest – “Sausage Party” – follows this recipe exactly – oh, and it also includes the most pornographic 5-minute sequence in the history of animation.
The movie opens with an original song and production number called “The Great Beyond”, written by Disney legend, Alan Menken. It’s a psychedelic, profane and sexually explicit version of “Be Our Guest” – and it sets the tone for one of the most bizarre movies I’ve ever seen, with Rogen at his most unapologetic.
Yes, the premise is unique: grocery store items that are actually “alive”, learning the real true about what happens when they are bought, or “chosen”. The lead characters are voiced by Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Danny McBride and more of Rogen’s regular posse. They could’ve taken “Sausage Party” in a bunch of different directions …and they chose to go in all of them.
The relationship at the center of the story involves Frank, the sausage, and hot dog bun Brenda. They desperately hope to be chosen by a customer and taken home, so they can finally get out of their packages and – umm – get together. They get separated and each go on a quest throughout the aisles of the store, meeting a variety of other products along the way. There are some genuinely clever and well thought-out moments of parody, political humor and even “spiritual insight” sprinkled in throughout the script.
However, the majority of the good stuff in “Sausage Party” is clouded-over by excessive use of profanity in the dialogue. Practically every sentence contains multiple F-bombs and a cornucopia of sexual references. And that’s NOT an exaggeration. This gets very old very quickly. There’s also a food vs. humans action movie subplot that allows Rogen to inject his trademark drug humor, which, again – “Been there, smoked that”. Someone needs to tell this guy that “Stoner Comedy” – even when the stoner sees his food coming to life – isn’t exactly cutting-edge material anymore.
“Sausage Party” literally has no filter. Every idea Rogen, Hill, Evan Goldberg and others on the team had in meetings was put into this movie – and clearly no one, including Sony execs, ever asked them to cut anything out.
Movies can be raunchy and also be very entertaining. Another Seth, Seth MacFarlane, proved that with his “Ted” movies. But even he knew when to draw the line, and he crafted legitimate stories around a wacky, “out there” premise. Like ALL of Rogen’s films, “Sausage Party” unnecessarily takes everything to the extreme to get the cheap laugh, and in the case of the final sequence, simply shock and stun the audience. And there are plenty of dull stretches, including a tacked-on ending, simply to get to the required 90-minute runtime.
Have to mention Edward Norton’s spot-on Woody Allen impression as the voice of Sammy Bagel, Jr. But is “Sausage Party” worth “Checking-out”? Maybe if you have coupons and realize that some of it is well past its expiration date. Oh – and don’t even think about bringing the kids.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Sausage Party” gets a C-.
Running Time: 89 min.