Sometimes, nutrition comes in unlikely packages. That’s not to say ‘Sausage Party’ is a pile of spinach. As the title implies, this is a strictly not-for-kids, animated sex fest. Or at least it is for its first, foulmouthed 15 minutes, as we meet Frank (Seth Rogen), a horny sausage who just wants to raw-dog it with Brenda (Kristen Wiig), the pillowy bun on the next aisle. We’re in a supermarket, where the talking food can’t wait to be picked up off the shelves – the characters are convinced they’re going to a better place.
Had this rude movie stuck to that one joke, even its brief 89-minute running time would have felt like waiting at an extra-long checkout queue. But as with ‘South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut’ (1999) and ‘The Lego Movie’ (2014), the script invests its scenario with an existential and political dimension. A Woody Allen-ish bagel, Sammy (Edward Norton), makes an uneasy truce with a bearded Middle Eastern lavash bread (David Krumholtz); later, they’ll become more than friends. And what exactly lies beyond those air-conditioned aisles?
Everyone is someone else’s food – that’s a sophisticated concept for any film. It’s worth applauding the sizable writing team (which includes Rogen, his ‘Superbad’ creative buddy Evan Goldberg and Jonah Hill) for polishing ‘Sausage Party’ to a busy Pixar-like sheen, in which every inch of space is filled by a joke. Some of those gags are cringy – but it’s not just empty calories.