Movie News & Reviews

Raunchy ‘Sausage Party’ brings new flavor to animated humor

The R-rated “Sausage Party” is a raunchy tale of food items who discover their fate after they leave the grocery store.
The R-rated “Sausage Party” is a raunchy tale of food items who discover their fate after they leave the grocery store.

Let’s get these out of the way.

You will relish the raunchy humor of “Sausage Party.”

It’s a real wiener.

Hot dog! It’s fun.

Now that that’s behind us, here’s a more in-depth look at the most adult animated film to come along since the 1972 release “Fritz the Cat.” Instead of a barrage of sexual and racial jokes told through a tale of a cat, this cursing cartoon caper examines what happens when foodstuffs learn what really happens when they leave the supermarket. It’s the struggle that proves food for thought (sorry).

Central to the action is rebellious Frank (Seth Rogen), a hot dog who gets separated from the rest of the wieners in his pack. Frank and his true love, Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a hot dog bun with flour in all the right places, go on a quest to get back to their own shelves.

They join a shopping list of characters who learn what life is like on the outside or see that food items have a way of segregating themselves into ethnic communities. It’s a way for the writers to load up on a host of sexual jokes that aren’t always subtle. The script occasionally stumbles into a few social comments.

“Sausage Party” is comedy’s version of a huge special effects movie. Movies that bank on big special effects don’t worry about being subtle with the action. In the case of “Sausage Party,” the writers don’t just bank on jokes but push the envelope with every sentence to the point of near-vulgar explosion. This is not a movie for everyone. If you go, you should be ready for a tale where characters of a Native American variety go by the offensive name of Firewater (Bill Hader) and Mexican food items are referred to in a very politically incorrect manner as illegals.

It’s the delivery system that saves the film. Jokes that would get a live-action movie banned take on a different spin when it is a horny taco (Salma Hayek) or a bagel who sounds like Woody Allen.

“Sausage Party” has plenty of funny moments, especially for fans of lowbrow humor. But what tends to be a flaw in these kind of offerings is that the continuous flood of sexual conversation becomes so relentless the lines often lose their shock value. The same goes for the unrelenting barrage of adult language.

And, as so happens in a film with Rogen, the insanity level starts so high that many of the scenes end up with characters screaming at each other. There’s an opening musical number that is as clever as “Blame Canada,” an original song from the “South Park” movie that earned an Oscar nomination. But, the level is so frantic, it is not easy to fully appreciate the “Sausage Party” tune. The opening production number is still a great tribute to ’40s musicals with a wide array of foods performing.

There’s also a cameo performance by an aptly named musician that adds to a solid soundtrack.

“Sausage Party” is aimed at an audience that doesn’t want to spend hours after the movie discussing the deep meanings in the humor. It’s bold, brash and hard to beet (last one).

But, this is where a warning label needs to be added to this review package. “Sausage Party” is rated R for a very good reason. It’s frank in discussion and dialogue.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

Sausage Party

Movie review

Cast: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Iris Apatow, Michael Cera

Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

89 minutes

Rating: R (strong sexual content, language, drug use)

Opens: Friday, Aug. 12

Check movie times at calendar.fresnobee.com/movies.aspx

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