Sausage and bun take on meaty issues

Sausage Party covers sex, drugs, race, the horror of American consumption and even the bullying of a dwarfish hotdog, Barry (above).
Sausage Party covers sex, drugs, race, the horror of American consumption and even the bullying of a dwarfish hotdog, Barry (above).PHOTO: SONY PICTURES



89 minutes/Opens tomorrow/4/5 stars

The story: At Shopwell's supermarket, every item on the shelf yearns to be selected by human customers, whom they believe will take them to a better place called the "Great Beyond". When that dream turns out to be quite possibly the most terrifying lie in food-product history, Frank the sausage (Seth Rogen), survivor of the latest shopping cull, goes on a quest in the supermarket aisles to find out the unsavoury truth.

Disney would never make an adult-rated cartoon with cute, crude characters like this.

Only degenerates could possibly conceive this - voice stars and story creators Rogen and Jonah Hill among them.

You can just see those twisted masterminds downing hotdogs, drinking beer, making dirty jokes and asking: "Wouldn't it be funny if our food were alive?"

The male sausage-female bun jokes here may be frat-boy idiotic, but visually, they are witty, blushing bits of culinary porn which will make you keel over in laughter.

Sausage Party, directed by Conrad Vernon (Monsters Vs Aliens, 2009) and Greg Tiernan, is less than the sum of its stronger parts.

But those parts result in a raucous, over-populated cartoon so hilariously raunchy, mightily inconsequential and yet, at the same time, topically brilliant.

Sex, drugs, race, the horror of American consumption and even the bullying of a dwarfish hotdog, Barry (Michael Cera), are worked in around Rogen's favourite subversive pastime of mocking serious religion.

The "Great Beyond" is the mythical paradise that all the optimistic products on display - ingredients, meat, fruit, vegetables, condiments, cans, liquor, everything - yearn for as they are picked up by seemingly nice human customers.

Of course, nobody tells these clueless pre-cooked souls about the horror of cooking, that violent human ritual of food preparation awaiting them in kitchen hell.

Innocent meat is chopped up, vegetables slaughtered, potatoes shredded mercilessly and frightened little leftovers flee in panic as they are picked up and dumped into the bottomless pit of a housewife's terrifying mouth.

Who could imagine an all-out bloody massacre to be this hilarious?

Saved by a trolley accident, Frank escapes the fate of the final selection and goes on a quest among the culturally diverse sections and shelves of the supermarket to seek out the truth with his girlfriend, Brenda Bunson the hotdog bun (Kristen Wiig) with a yummy-sexy bun.

Alas, this quest portion - the bulk of the story - drags compared with another high adventure - shortie sausage Barry's frenetic attempt to escape the frying pan of a human junk-food junkie (James Franco).

Deviant brilliance is when sausage, potato chips and grouchy toilet paper are able to communicate and fight to the gruesome death with a stoner dude who shoots up on bath salts and thinks he is hallucinating.

You marvel at those philosophical times Rogen and his pals must have spent engaging in food fights in the kitchen.

Maybe they looked at the little packages they were about to fling and concluded that they must all lead to one big packaged lie.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2016, with the headline 'Sausage and bun take on meaty issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe