This film, filled to the brim with sex and swearing, has been a real eye opener for me. My local supermarket is so posh that its version of Sausage Party would be like Downton Abbey, with a Duchy Originals organic egg from Prince Charles’s hens falling in love with a rather cheaper Waitrose Essentials white finger bun. Though the only sex references would be in the artisanal sourdough.
Sausage Party starts with a cheery song to start the day, a sweet and innocent ditty with only a few mentions of fucking and they’re from the sausages and well, what do you expect? And the film finishes with a full-on food orgy where every orifice has a complimentary foodstuff. It looks fun, though I’m not sure I’d have wanted to be one of those holey cartoon cheeses.
In between it is, of course, a journey, literally to the Dark Aisle for a motley assortment of foods who gradually bond and become true friends, and then shag each other. So friends with benefits. And let’s face it who doesn’t get peckish after sex.
For some of them their journey is an even more terrifying one though – a trip straight to hell, as they find out the hard way that dinner time in a suburban kitchen is more slasher horror film than happy family movie hugfest. There’s also a journey home, back to the Shopwell supermarket, against the odds – though in time for the 4th of July rather than Thanksgiving.
The supermarket products are under the misguided impression that once they are chosen by one of the Gods (humans – wow it feels good to get some proper respect at last as I do the weekly shop) they are taken to the Great Beyond, outside of the store’s automatic doors, to a wonderful life where they will be cherished and loved. They don’t realise that while they will be loved, it’ll be in a sauce with some mashed potato on the side.
But then Honey Mustard (and what a great porn name that is) makes it back to the shop, returned when his god realised he had bought the wrong kind of condiment. Back on the shelf, Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) tries to tell his friends what really happens at mealtimes but he’s unceremoniously shut down by a carton of Firewater (Bill Hader).
After an altercation the sausages and buns are bought with some groceries but Frank the hot dog sausage (Seth Rogen) and his girlfriend Brenda the Glamour Bun (Kristen Wiig) are accidentally left behind, much to their distress. Frank seeks out Firewater and finds him with his friends (“we’re the non-perishables, motherfucker!” says one), and discovers the truth of the Great Beyond.
It turns out that Firewater and his pals have concocted the story, as the truth for the shop’s inhabitants would be too much to bear, leaving them with a belief in the Great Beyond that is cult-like.
Meanwhile the other sausages are now in a suburban kitchen, and witnessing mass murder – with baby carrots chomped, sausages split in half, potatoes peeled (right over their eyes, urgh) and nachos microwaved.
While Frank starts his journey to the Dark Aisle to find out more about the reality of life with the gods, Barry the deformed sausage (Michael Cera) plots a daring escape from the kitchen, aiming to eventually make it back to Shopwell’s.
Sex is everywhere in Shopwell’s (and there was me thinking that it only worked when you saw that sign of alleged singledom, a solitary apple, in a man’s basket). “See how tight I am” purrs Brenda out of her ready-cut hole, as she and Frank think about their future together.
And I really had no idea all this went on in a store – where I live it’s all about that terrible moment when you no longer have a pushchair or stroller to hang your shopping bags from, and for the first time you start eyeing up those pull-along granny shopping trolleys justifying it to yourself with “well, the prints are really funky nowadays!”, as if that makes it okay, even though in the past you have told people to kill you if they see you with one.
The sex and murder mayhem brings characters together who are usually divided. The bagel, Sammy Bagel Jr (Edward Norton) and Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholtz), a middle eastern flatbread, bond over some middle ground as it turns out they’re both friends with hummus. And Teresa the Taco (a sultry Salma Hayek looking wider than she ever has) falls in love with Brenda and is convinced she can turn the glamour bun: “once you taco you don’t go backo!” she confidently announces.
Near the end it does all get a bit meta (and messy) and the final raucous orgy, where everyone gets down to it together, may upset people who like to keep their food separate on the plate and eat each section one by one (don’t deny it, I know you’re out there).
Ultimately despite the cheery swearing and shagging it’s also rather a sad, nihilistic film. What film about the death of god isn’t? Never have sex and death been so intimately entwined, and even though the sausages and buns and everything else have saved themselves this time, tomorrow the store will be open again and the choice is really between being eaten in the Great Beyond or going bad in Shopwell’s and being binned.
There is a Third Way, though they would have had to been bought by my parents back in the 1980s. Stuff in their fridge sat uneaten for years, growing long mould beards, like so many stinky Dumbledores. Unwanted and uneaten, but alive (spores are alive, right?).
Sausage Party is very rude and very funny, with the jokes coming so thick and fast that you barely register the ones that fall a bit flat or are obvious even by this film’s standards (there really is an evil douche). The characters are stereotypes and at times the endless blokey college humour grates a bit, but overall it’s the kind of film you can’t actually eat anything while watching in case you choke from laughing and actually die. But… could that be the whole point?
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