Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's food-based animated flick is a parody of all things Disney and Pixar and takes no time in establishing its target audience, with swears dominating the script from start to finish. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen the movie. Or at least the only good joke. The whole point of Sausage Party is simply to get cutesy things to say nasty things, dressing up a sweary shock comedy as a cheery kids film. Of course, such foul language would be fine if the comedy were actually funny. But disappointingly, there isn't really that much comedy.
Well, comedy that actually works anyway. The frequent food-based puns are amusing for the first few minutes until you realise that they make up 90% of the film. The surprise in seeing hot dog buns and baby carrots cursing at each other wears off quickly, showing how one great trailer can't be stretched into a full length film when little else is added. Even the clever Saving Private Ryan reference from the trailer is spent far too early.
Only two other genuinely funny moments occur, one with the appearance of Edward Norton's neurotic Woody Allen-esque "Sammy Bagel Jr" and the other with the entrance of a wad of gum in a miniature motorised wheelchair, complete with digitized voice box ala Stephen Hawking. You really can't make this up (and for the most part, I wish they hadn't).
On a technical level, the voice acting is all well delivered from an impressive cast of comedic talents, which only makes the end result more disappointing. This is with the exception of Nick Kroll, whose literal "Douche" character is an awful pastiche of painfully played out "bro" stereotypes. The animation is passable, coming off as a low budget Disney flick. Stories of mistreatment and unpaid overtime for the animators involved does add a slightly depressing edge to the project, especially considering the end result that they worked so hard towards.
Sausage Party somehow manages to be even more obnoxious than the boisterous frat house comedy Bad Neighbours, Rogen's previous project. Shouting, swearing and screaming are expected to make up for the lack of decent writing.
Rogen and Goldberg even resort to the overused drug humour from many of their previous films, enlisting the increasingly generic James Franco as "Druggie." It manages to be even less subtle than the terrorism satire Team America: World Police, increasingly falling back on gross out moments to provoke the audience.
Of course, the great oxymoron of this review is that the film is performing surprisingly well for an R-rated animation and is getting many positive reviews. Sadly, I think Sausage Party is a mark of how far our standards for comedy have fallen. For a film in the making for eight years, the result is woefully half-baked and incredibly undercooked. Perhaps it's finally time for Seth Rogen to grow up.