There are few movies that assault your sensibilities like Sausage Party, the new CGI animated feature by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. For much of the film, I sat thinking, “what the fuck am I watching?” or “how was this allowed to be made?” I can’t remember thinking this about a positive movie-going experience since Team America: World Police in 2004. But that is part of what makes these movies so captivating: their audacity in the face of a whiny PC culture.
It’s likely that a movie like this wouldn’t have been made without the comedy star power behind it. In fact, Rogen has said on numerous occasions that the script has been sitting on the shelf for the better part of a decade, waiting for the right production company to fund it. The end result is an absurd middle finger directed defiantly at all the “no’s” that filmmakers have to suffer throughout their careers. It goes far beyond that, however, providing endearing characters and (dare I say) religious and political commentary into a tight, never boring narrative.
Pixar and Dreamworks are still the heavyweight competitors in the realm of CGI animation, with a few Japanese companies sharing a small fraction of the spotlight. CGI is extremely expensive, with funding for the recently released “Finding Dory” by Pixar costing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to create. At less than 10% of that budget, you’ll find “Sausage Party.” 19 million dollars might sound like a large budget, but for the voice acting and animation, it is a rather paltry sum.
The difference in quality is noticeable. The animation lacks depth. Textures such as pepperonis on a pizza or rivets on the lid of a jar look painted on rather than three-dimensional attributes. Bread doesn’t look like bread and sausage doesn’t look like sausage, but the art style helps to legitimize the overall aesthetic. Many recent animated movies are trending towards a “real life” look, but Sausage Party is happy looking like the cartoon that it is, and you can’t necessarily fault it for that.
The movie’s characters are voiced by some of the biggest names in comedy and other genres. Let’s take a quick look at some of the talent this flick brings:
How did they even have a budget after the movie was cast? Did the actors do this pro-bono? In fairness, they probably did to some extent, with a contracted percentage of profit set aside for each. It goes without saying that the talent goes a long way, and adds a hilarious, nuanced personality to the movie.
The story is mainly based on the characters voiced by Rogen and Wiig, a sausage and a bun, respectively. Their entire existence is devoted to getting out of the grocery store where they are stocked together to the “great beyond” so they can be free with their gods (humans) and consummate their love for one another. There are running themes alongside this central narrative, such as international race relations, homosexuality, drug abuse, and religion. All of this is told to great comedic effect, though it will unquestionably leave many offended.
Sausage Party is a difficult movie to quantify because it is such an odd offering. As a comedy, it does its job. It’s a messy, convoluted story that might try a few too many things, but there may not be another movie released like this for a while, so its enthusiasm is welcome. The characters are what make the whole thing come together, and there are plenty of one-liners spaced throughout to keep you engaged.
Conclusion: It’s no Oscar winner, in my opinion. The lack of cohesion and tone keep this from being recommendable to everyone, but if you like what Rogen has offered before, you’ll likely leave the theater very happy. I have a pretty sick sense of humor, and I had a great time, but those who are easily offended will likely cringe throughout the entire thing.
If you like the cast and movies like “Team America” or “South Park,” you should definitely buy a ticket.
Sausage Party- 6.5/10