Short Version: Sausage Party is exactly the bit of demented fun it promised to be.
Sausage Party transports us into a new reality where the items in our grocery superstores are actually alive, living in their respective aisles as separate cultures and faiths - yet all with the same hope: that they will be chosen by the gods (humans) to be taken to "the great beyond" outside the store. In this routine existence we meet Frank (Seth Rogen), a sausage who is hoping for one thing: to go to the great beyond with the one bun he loves, Brenda (Kristen Wiig). With "Red, White and Blue Day" (July 4th) approaching, Frank and Brenda see their hopes realized when they are selected by one of the gods to go to the great beyond. However, their journey is quickly spoilerd by a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) that got returned to the store, bringing a prophecy of doom: The Great Beyond is not a paradise at all - it's a hell where food products are brutally murdered and consumed by the gods, in order to give them strength.
Honey Mustard's panic causes Frank, Brenda, and a few other food items (like a Douche played by Nick Kroll) to fall from the shopping cart. After the initial chaos, destruction and clean up on the aisle, Frank and Brenda find themselves allied with the odd-couple of a bagel (Edward Norton), a Middle Eastern lavash (David Krumholtz) and a taco with a lesbian crush (Salma Hayek). The troupe set off through the supermarket aisles to get back home, while Frank tries to unravel the mystery of The Great Beyond, and the terrible warning that Honey Mustard left with him.
The brainchild of Superbad team Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg, Sausage Party is yet another R-rated raunch-comedy fest that takes shot at the social fabric we live in, a la This Is The End. However, in the unhindered realm of animation, the demented antics of "Team Rogen" are truly let off the chain, resulting in a movie whose wit and social insight are somewhat smothered by the indulgent (read: juvenile) delight of seeing good food behave so badly.
It must be said upfront: Sausage Party is one of those film concepts that you either embrace in all its gross absurdity, or won't connect with at all; there is no in-between. Right from the opening musical number, Rogen and Co. are right in our faces with extreme humor and offensive cultural stereotypes - and things only get dirtier from there. Yet, beneath all the gasp-inducing jokes about Asian foods or fascist German foods trying to eliminate "The Juice," there's actually a message here. Sausage Party attempts to say something about the current divisive state of the world and the questionable belief systems that drive that divisiveness - but again, it's a message delivered so crassly and in-your-face that it may be too off-putting for some viewers. But the bigger problem is that the film's shtick begins to wear thin rather quickly.
Setting up a clever comedic metaphor is one thing, but stretching that metaphor out over the course of an entire feature-film storyline is another thing entirely. After getting in some hard jabs at the different cultures and religions of the world, Sausage Party quickly begins to strain its funnybone, with food puns, sex jokes and cartoon foods cursing like pirates all quickly losing their novelty after the first act.
The only that keeps things fresh (food pun...) are clever or funny imitations of real life places, events and celebrities using elements of the grocery store - and they're almost enough to propel Sausage Party through the course of its narrative. Almost. There is that all-too-common drag in the latter half of the second act, as our characters meander down their respective paths of so-called self discovery - while a final act twist arguably jumps the shark entirely. But by that point, after seeing food curse and sex-joke its way through 80+ minutes of your life, you'll probably be ready to accept anything.
The voice cast is strong, and is a lot of the reason why Sausage Party plays well in the comedy department. Seth Rogen is his trademark self (love or hate it), but the rest of voice cast are smartly balanced between recognizable voices bringing trademark shtick (Salma Hayek, Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig) and talented comedians/actors you'd never guess (Edward Norton, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Bill Hader) bringing great character voices to life, while also nailing the comedic timing. No small feat. More than anything, you can feel that each member/associate of "Team Rogen" is jumping into this crazy idea ten-toes deep, and the commitment sells onscreen.
In the end, The "demented" aspect of the film may be a deal-breaker for some people, but for those who want to take the ride, there's plenty of sick laughs to be had.
Sausage Party is now playing in theaters. It is 90 minutes long and Rated R for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use.