I like Seth Rogen a lot. I liked Super Bad. I loved Neighbors. Freaks and Geeks is a classic, and I’m even one of the few people who adored his Christmas movie last year, The Night Before. There’s almost nothing that Seth Rogen has created that I have not liked, whatever that might say about me.
Sausage Party is the exception. Sausage Party is dumb and pointless and I hated it, although I am — to be fair — in the minority among critics who have delighted in what is the first R-rated all CGI-film (and it’s a hair away from being NC-17). I hate feeling like the buzzkill on this film, but here we are. I’m not going to lie and say I liked something because everyone else did.
In trying to explain to you what Sausage Party is about, however, you’re invariably going to be excited about the concept, because the idea behind this movie is funny. It’s food porn. Like, literally. It’s about food fucking other food. There’s an extended orgy scene between food items in a grocery store. Threesomes, foursomes, oral, anal, gay, straight, bi, pearl necklaces, the whole shebang. Between hot dogs and buns, bagels and lavash, grits and crackers.
And I know some of you are like, “What? Grocery store items fucking? That sounds amazing!”
It kind of does, in theory. And maybe it will be for you. I thought it was moronic. And often offensive. For instance, the villain in the movie is a douchebag — a literal douchebag — filled with vodka that tries to flex its muscles and drunkenly rape a hot-dog bun. But it’s comedy, right, so it’s … OK? And there’s a lot of ugly racial stereotypes, but it’s only hot dogs, and cans of beans, and a gay Twinkie and firewater — which is obviously a Native American stereotype — so we shouldn’t take offense, right? Well, why not? Because if the “firewater” were played by an actual Native American, or if a live-action Craig Robinson was playing an actual African-American stereotype banging the “Crackers” that wouldn’t be OK.
Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg have been trying to get Sausage Party made for nearly a decade, and they are as surprised as anyone that the project was greenlit and funded, and for good reason. It’s a pointless movie, not because it’s a hard-R animated food comedy, but because it’s not funny. It’s a bunch of grocery items yelling profanities and heinous food puns for an hour and a half followed by a literal food orgy. The end.
If Sausage Party were clever beyond the concept, I’d understand why it was made. If it were trying to explode stereotypes or subvert conventions or say anything at all of substance, it might have been worthwhile because there are a couple of scenes that actually do work (a Saving Private Ryan sequence involving a woman chopping, preparing, and eating food, for instance, is flat-out hysterical, the first time anwway). But it’s none of those things. It’s a stupid movie about a hot dog trying to fuck a bun that Rogen and Goldberg clearly wrote in their early 20s while they were baked. Sometimes those ideas are funny in the moment. This one should never have left the hot box. A poorly written bro-y, rape-y movie is not made any better because it’s animated and involves food. It’s still a poorly written bro-y, rape-y movie.