A Hero Will Rise – Sausage Party (Film Review)

Sausage Party is the first adult CGI-animated film, and who better to bring it to us than Seth Rogen and company. The film follows Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage in a supermarket who awaits a human to take him away to what he believes is paradise, allowing him to finally be with his love, a hot dog bun named Brenda (Kristen Wiig). However, the items residing in the supermarket have no idea what horrific things humans really do with the food they purchase.

While you pretty much know the sense of humour you’ll be getting from a Seth Rogen film by now, the well thought out plot of Sausage Party was actually a pleasant surprise. The narrative deals with how every day grocery items would perceive humans and the terror of the truth with what humans use these items for in quite an interesting way. The film even carries a pretty good message, albeit one that it often gets too heavy handed with. Within the first five minutes of the film, you can probably work out what the message, or the moral, of the film is going to be, and sure enough it doesn’t let up on it for the rest of its runtime, resulting in it actually becoming a little tiresome towards the film’s climax. However, the premise of the film and how it is handled is still at least well thought out to the point where it actually has a message, which helps sell the idea that this could be a Pixar or Disney story gone wrong. There are some other stumbles with the plot, such as an antagonist who doesn’t quite tie in with the third act very well, and an overuse of one location rather than offering more variety, but the story is definitely more than serviceable for the film.

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Most people going to see Sausage Party will be going purely for the comedy however, with recent films from Rogen and friends such as This is the End becoming big hits critically and commercially. Unfortunately, Sausage Party isn’t as hilarious as Rogen’s best work, but thankfully it is also nowhere near his worst. The film doesn’t quite provide the number of laughs that the trailer would have you believe, but it’s more due to the fact that there’s big portions of the film where it really wasn’t trying to make you laugh and instead focused on the story, and not because the jokes were falling flat. There’s certainly still enough humour here to warrant a watch, a decent amount of which is fantastically done such as seeing the grocery items out in the world and some brilliant pop culture references, but they don’t come as often as I’d like. Some of the funniest moments of the film stems from the food experiencing life outside the supermarket, including a hilarious scene featured in trailers where the food realizes the humans’ true intention for them, but unfortunately only a small portion of the film focuses on these scenes.

One of Sausage Party’s biggest strengths, however, is the impressive cast. The film features a lot of the typical cast you’d expect from such a film, including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig and James Franco, but also features some big name stars in decent roles including Edward Norton and Salma Hayek, helping to bring more variety to the wide cast of characters. Another strong positive for Sausage Party is the music. With the film acting as a sort of parody of Disney and Pixar, it’s only fitting that they have Alan Menken, who famously wrote music for such Disney classics as Beauty and the Beast, provide a song for the film. It’s certainly one of the highlights of the film, sounding like it would fit right at home in a Disney classic and you can’t help but want more from him, but the rest of the film uses existing songs or the original score from Christopher Lennertz. The animation of the film isn’t anything special, but the style certainly suits the humour and it’s easy to forgive it falling short of the standards that expensive blockbusters from studios such as Pixar have set.

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Sausage Party is certainly an entertaining film, but doesn’t quite live up to the great potential it has. While funny, the film isn’t as hysterical as it could be for the most part, with a large focus of the film being on the plot. However, while the plot is actually better than I imagined it would be, it is burdened down too much by its heavy handed message, which has thoroughly hit the audience over the head by the time the big payoff comes in the climax of the film. Ultimately, though, I recommend Sausage Party to anyone who enjoyed the humour and concept of the trailers, and fans of the cast in general, as there’s certainly a lot of fun to be had, despite the flaws that hold it back from greatness.

3/5

Dir: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan

Scr: Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Cast: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek

Prd: Megan Ellison, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Conrad Vernon

Music: Alan Menken, Christopher Lennertz

Country: USA

Year: 2016

Run time: 88 minutes

Sausage Party is released in UK cinemas on 2nd September.