Sausage Party (2016)

(On Cable TV, February 2017) Playing like the demented fever dream of a horny teenager discovering sex, swearing and atheist philosophy at once, Sausage Party definitely isn’t your average animated movie. Conceived by Seth Rogen, this movie takes a look at sentient supermarket food as they gradually realize that being chosen and put in the cart means that a horrible death awaits them. As a mad adult take on talking-objects movies, Sausage Party further amps the dose by going for all-out gross humour, featuring a near-constant debit of foul language, sexual references that skirt the NC-17 rating (and would definitely exceed it had it featured real humans) and violent matter. (Being eaten is, well, not for the faint of heart.) It’s almost amazing that respected notables such as Ed Norton and Salma Hayek would be game to voice the result, but there they are. The animation is of noticeably lower quality than the current state-of-the-art (there have been unpleasant reports about the working conditions in the studio that produced the film) but few will mind when the script takes such a centre stage. To its credit, Sausage Party does work: Beyond all the crude jokes and wearying accumulation of swearwords, the concept is clever, some jokes land well (I really liked the “Gum” character) and the ending goes for another conceptual breakthrough that sends off the film on a high note. For all of its juvenile energy, there is something vaguely audacious and subversive about Sausage Party—a form/function mash-up between a kind of movie typically aimed at kids to talk about adult matters of indoctrination and belief. DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT let younger kids see this film. Heck, don’t even let easily offended adults see it either. Still, in a predictable studio system that churns out big-budget formulas every week, there’s something endearingly anarchic and rebellious about Sausage Party that makes it stand out even in a crowded field. Much like a too-smart teenager trying out shock humour before settling down to more mature pursuits.

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