At Shopwell’s supermarket, the food and other grocery items all eagerly await being chosen by the Gods (aka shoppers) and taken to the ‘Great Beyond’. But then a jar of honey mustard is returned to the store and brings with him the truth of the actual horror that awaits them all.
Pixar movies have always been known for operating on two levels by offering superb, never bettered kids entertainment coupled with the smart undertones and references that keep Mum and Dad similarly gripped. Making an adult-only anthropomorphic comedy, full of f-bombs, sexual gags and crude humour, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg run the risk of churning out a one note joke. But they too have pulled off the same trick, albeit in a different guise.
Starting off with a very Disney-like song celebrating the coming of the ‘Great Beyond’ all foodstuffs and groceries at Shopwell’s wait for, Sausage Party then immediately shows it’s true colours with an exchange between a pack of Frankfurters and their counterpart hotdog rolls, which (of course) look exactly like vaginas. After witnessing the horror of out of date produce being consigned to a bin, they’re overjoyed to be picked by a ‘God’ together and, along with other items in the shopping trolley, eagerly await what’s to come. But then a jar of honey mustard, recently returned to the store, joins them and reveals their real fate, promptly committing suicide when no one believes him.
What follows is the basic premise of the first Toy Story film, as our cute heroes find themselves in mortal peril, discover the real truth of life and strive to return home, but with several added kilos worth of knob gags and swearing. That would have been funny of itself – and who hasn’t at times wanted Woody, Buzz and co. to cut loose and swear, fart and fornicate at times (it’s not just me, right?) – but there are hidden and not so hidden smarts here also. Arab bread Lavash and the Jewish Sammy Bagel Jr. are sworn enemies who learn to work together and put aside their differences (you don’t get Israel/Palestine conflict resolutions in Finding Dory) and the cast also get to learn the futility of organized religion and the need to grow and question their core beliefs.
Don’t worry, this depth doesn’t come at the cost of those knob gags – there’s as much filth here you’d want, especially at the end – but it does add great depth to what would otherwise be just a teenager’s (wet) dream of a movie. Laden with sight gags – look out for Gum, the Stephen Hawking of this ensemble, riff on Terminator 2, and a bad guy who is literally a complete douche – this also doesn’t outstay its welcome, with a scant 89 minute run time.
A sequel is heavily signposted, promising ever more existential adventures, and can’t come soon enough (unlike a certain sausage). As a welcome respite from all those sugar-coated cgi-fests we’re always constantly being dragged to with our kids, this is complete refreshment. And you’ll not be able to look in your kitchen cupboards the same way for a while after either.