The supremely silly concept of Sausage Party could have made a brilliant sketch. Instead, Seth Rogen and co have stretched out the story of sentient edibles realising their grim fate, and undermined its comedic potential with their juvenile certainty that using every declination of the word ‘fuck’ directly correlates with the amount of laughs you’ll get.
The stoner storytellers craft some admittedly strong gags – a grocery aisle version of Saving Private Ryan stands out – but after 20 minutes, the joke starts to wear thin. Even its theological commentary, featuring a bickering Jewish bagel (Edward Norton brilliantly mimicking Woody Allen) and a Palestinian pita (David Krumholtz, relishing every line), is weakened once you realise the whole endeavour is essentially a puerile excuse to spew forth profanities that would shame a Scorsese character.
As for the crass finale, it suggests that directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon don’t know that comedy requires discipline, and were maybe brought in to meekly facilitate the whims of a blazed bunch who reverse-engineered a film in order to see foul-mouthed food have an orgy. Reined in by superior filmmakers (think The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller), Sausage Party might have been genuinely subversive; as it stands, it’s an occasionally funny but drawn-out joke that shows Rogen needs to grow the fudge up.
Sausage Party | Directed by Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon (USA, 2016) with Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton. Starts October 6.