“Sausage Party,” good but not great

Brenda (Kristen Wiig), Frank (Seth Rogen), Sammy (Ed Norton) in Columbia Pictures' SAUSAGE PARTY.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Brenda (Kristen Wiig), Frank (Seth Rogen), Sammy (Ed Norton) in Columbia Pictures' SAUSAGE PARTY.

Christopher Walker, Editor-in-Chief

Sausage Party, the latest endeavor from Seth Rogen & Friends, is the very first R-rated animated CGI film. It’s juvenile, vulgar, sophomoric, offensive, and completely inappropriate throughout its 90-minute length. It’s also pretty funny.

Seth Rogen voices Frank the hot dog, and together with his girlfriend Brenda the hot dog bun, they live in a supermarket where every can of food, every vegetable, and every liquor bottle is an anthropomorphic being waiting to be picked up by a human. The inhabitants of the supermarket believe the humans that visit the supermarket are gods and being picked up and brought out of the store will bring them to the Great Beyond.

Frank and Brenda await the day they’re chosen by the gods, and when the day finally comes, they fall out of the cart, lost in the supermarket, and must find their way home. Meanwhile, their friends continue to the Great Beyond, where they find out the horrible truth of what happens to food when humans take them home.

Like most of Seth Rogen’s work as of late, Sausage Party is designed strictly for the 30-and-under crowd, coming across like the dream project of a group of teenage boys. But the immature style of the film is the entire point; the juvenilia is what you expect, and what you get.

Filled to the brim with cursing inanimate objects, bath salt drug binges, and a sophomoric heavy-handed existential theme, there’s little in here to appease the wine-and-cheese crowd. If the thought of watching hot dogs ride into battle on bottles of horseradish doesn’t amuse you, you most likely won’t enjoy the film.

Although it starts out strong, the film loses its comedic steam when it leans on the tried-and true Hollywood plot structure of its middle act. Unlike South Park, whose genius lies in condensing traditional film plot structures and making fun of them, Sausage Party leans heavily and unsatirically on structure, and it feels like a missed opportunity to make fun of Disney and Dreamworks films that use the same blueprints.

Thankfully, the last act is an all-out blast with hands-down the year’s most bizarre sequence closing out the film. Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it. Setting aside the weak middle act, the film starts and ends on wonderfully high notes, complete with a great musical number and a dazzling battle.

All parts are cast terrifically, although it’s a shame that it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the majority of words that come out of these talented actors’ mouths is some iteration of “fuck”. It loses its comedic impact 5 minutes in after it’s been said 50 times.

Sausage Party is typical at this point in Seth Rogen’s career. Along with The Night Before, The Interview, and Neighbors, he’s proven again and again that he’s talented enough to put together a wholly entertaining film. But Superbad and Pineapple Express are starting to seem more and more like distant memories, like bygone glory days. Rogen looks like he’s losing the ability to create something endlessly re-watchable.