The term ‘animated comedy’ generally comes with the assumption that it’s also family friendly. However, the team behind The Interview are back to lampoon Pixar et al in Sausage Party, imagining a world where items of food come to life (a la Toy Story) and believe they go to The Great Beyond once they are chosen by humans from the supermarket. A hot dog named Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) learns the horrifying truth, and leads a gang of consumable goods in an attempt to escape their fate.
Rogen and Co’s comedies are at their best when knowingly goofy – the smoke filled hilarity of Pineapple Express, the teen ineptitude of Superbad – and things are no different here, with the writers spoofing the cuddly sentiment of Disney by packing in as many expletives and close-to-the-knuckle sex gags as they possibly can. It’s eye watering stuff at times, but to dismiss it as mindless would be to ignore the intelligence of the script. Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg make some interesting points about organised religion and consumerism, although it’s admittedly hard to take these points seriously when they are being delivered through the medium of a stoned hot dog.
Rogen’s unmistakable cadence sets the R-rated tone, and he’s joined by Bill Hader as the hilarious Firewater, and regular collaborator James Franco as a stoner who can hear the food talk.
In a summer of cinematic disappointments, Sausage Party pays off by being far cleverer than its bawdy premise suggests. There are far wurst ways to spend an evening.