Have you ever been screamed at by a weiner? Do you know what tomatoes talk about when they’re alone, or why that wad of gum needs its own tiny wheelchair? Welcome to the wildly crass, intermittently brilliant world of Sausage Party — a sort of Secret Life of Groceries exposé that is literally bananas. And also nuts.
Conceived by the conjoined comedic minds of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Evan Goldberg and baked (in more ways than one) for more than eight years, the movie looks like Pixar but plays like Pineapple Express unleashed among actual pineapples. Or if you like, it’s the Superbad of anthropomorphized snacks — specifically, hormonal young hot dog Frank (Rogen) and his stubby little factory-damaged sidekick, Barry (Michael Cera). Frank also has a lady friend, Brenda (Kristen Wiig), who’s made for him; she’s a bun. Together they dream of life in the Great Beyond, the happily-ever-after every Shopwell’s product believes lies on the other side of the store’s sliding doors. There are a few wise old-timers among the nonperishables, though, who know the truth: “Beyond” is in fact an abattoir, a masticating horror show of death and dismemberment perpetrated by the greedy, heedless mouths of monstrously hungry human gods.
Once Frank learns what this waiting hellfire of paring knives and panini grills means for him and his friends, he is determined to save them from their gruesome fates. But even as he pulls off a daring getaway from an overstuffed grocery cart, he inadvertently makes a mortal enemy — a crafty neighbor who turns out to be a real douche. (Seriously; the squat-bodied Douche, voiced by Nick Kroll, is a refugee from the feminine hygiene aisle. And it’s not his fault if he comes off like a noxious dude-bro who got cut in the third round of Bachelorette casting for anger issues, is it? Biology is destiny.)
More complications follow, though plot is hardly the point of Party. We’re here to watch a taco shell with lesbian tendencies talk like Salma Hayek (Ay mami, that’s her) or Edward Norton bringing his best Woody Allen-isms to a neurotic little ball of gluten named Sammy Bagel Jr., to laugh and cringe and gasp simultaneously when the movie pushes gleefully past every last boundary of good taste. Sex is paramount — prepare yourself, reader, for a climactic condiment-drenched orgy that late-night Cinemax wouldn’t touch — but race and religion are the sacred cows the movie seems happiest to grind: Jars of sauerkraut goose-step like it’s 1936 Berlin; the Middle Eastern aisle isn’t big enough to hold Sammy and his flatbread archenemy, Lavash (David Krumholtz). As outrageously un-PC as these scenes are, they’re far sharper than the aimless, scatological stoner humor that pads out so much of the script. That’s the movie’s real food for thought; the rest is just munchies. B