The animated “Sausage Party” is so thick with puerile sexuality that a viewer must choose between bailing on the whole experience or embracing it in a spirit of unfettered adolescent humor.
I mean, here’s an R-rated movie about a hot dog named Frank (Seth Rogen) who dreams that Brenda (Kristen Wiig), the bun he has worshipped from afar, will open up and allow him to nestle his full length in her soft, spongy interior.
Other characters include a lesbian taco with a Mexican accent, a bottle of tequila that talks like a wise old Indian chief, a neurotic jar of honey mustard, a box of grits and even a used condom. Then there’s Lavosh — a Middle Eastern wrap — who is always exchanging insults with a Jewish bagel. The villain of the peace is the megalomaniac Douche (yes, a feminine hygiene product).
These characters are brought to life by a Who’s Who of voice talent that includes Salma Hayek, Bill Hader, David Krumholtz, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Edward Norton, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd and James Franco.
Narratively “Sausage Party” feels likes something a bunch of stoners dreamed up at 2 in the morning (duh).
It’s July 3 in the supermarket, and all of the products sitting on the shelves are pumped because so many of them will be “chosen” by the “gods” (i.e., human shoppers) and taken out of the store to what they are sure will be a paradisiacal eternity in the Great Beyond. They celebrate their imminent liberation in a rousing song (music by Alan Menken).
Frank and his fellow wieners (they’re crammed in eight to a package) have been gazing lustfully at a nearby package of buns (six to a package), awaiting the day they will be joined in the hereafter.
But one loose wiener returns from the outside world to tell the awful truth. Far from being benevolent liberators, the “gods” are ravenous murderers who torment food items with blades and boiling water before gulping them down.
Frank is appalled and goes on a search through the store to find answers. What is the source of this false theology and how can the products declare their freedom from human oppression and consumption?
So, in addition to being outrageously lewd, “Sausage Party” takes on religion, as well as politics, consumerism and a half dozen additional targets.
As storytelling “Sausage Party” — it’s directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon from a script by Rogen, Hill, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir and Evan Goldberg — is a long and winding yarn that frequently gets lost in its own busyness. And it can’t maintain fidelity to its own atheism; the screenplay paints its characters into an existential corner where the only escape is by delivering a miracle. Talk about mixed messages!
About every five minutes the film comes up with an idea, a line of dialogue, a visual image that is so off-the-wall outrageous as to be borderline brilliant. It’s less a well-told tale than a collection of hilarious moments. Turns out that’s enough.