SXSW Review: Sausage Party (Work-in-Progress)

SXSWSausage Party is the worst, least funny comedy I have ever seen. It is full to the brim with lazily written, stereotyping, racist, sexist, homophobic, reference-heavy, swear-ridden “jokes” that try way too hard to seem either controversial or profound and just end up being nothing. There is nothing to like about this film. I chuckled one time during the merciless, seemingly never-ending 83 minute runtime – even then, it was a Saving Private Ryan reference. Coming off of the delightful surprise that was Preacher from the previous day, it was so disheartening to see Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg sink to this depth, leaving me scratching my head and wondering how movies like this can still be a thing.

Four different screenwriters took the concept (as outlined by Seth Rogen in the Q&A, after the show) of “animated grocery store food that wants to have sex” and developed a mess of a story that starts out being about a sausage, named Frank (Seth Rogen) and a bun, named Brenda (Kristin Wiig) looking forward to the day when they will be chosen by humans, who they call “the gods” so they can leave their grocery store, enter the great beyond, and finally be together. When a jar of mustard is returned to the store by one of the gods, he starts ranting about how the whole “great beyond” thing is a lie and the gods are not the benevolent creatures all the food once thought they were. This leads to an uproar on “Stars and Stripes Day,” where Frank and Brenda are finally chosen, but fall out of the shopping cart, quite far from their aisle and have to go on an adventure through the store, accompanied by a Jewish stereotype bagel, named Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton doing a spot-on Woody Allen impersonation) and a catch-all Muslim stereotype lavash bread, named Vash (David Krumholtz).

Along the way, they encounter a rage-fueled douche (Nick Kroll), a lesbian taco (Salma Hayek), a peace-pipe smoking Native American stereotype, and his friends black stereotype (Craig Robinson) and gay stereotype. Filling out the rest of the cast is the normal assortment of Seth Rogen friends, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Bill Hader, and Danny McBride. This cast is full of talented and funny people. It is such a shame that they were all involved with this pile of garbage.

The general rule for the writing of this film must have been “if it isn’t funny now, throw more f-words in there.” The sheer number of lines that have more than one f-bomb is staggering. And at no point is that funny or shocking or whatever the intention was. That is one of many problems with Sausage Party, animated food swearing just isn’t funny on its own. It isn’t funny the first time it happens and it stays unfunny through hundreds of times as the screenwriters try to cover up mindless nonsense with what they perceive as a joke. Additionally, as one could probably tell from what I have already written above, with the exception of Frank and maybe Brenda, none of the characters are anything more than flimsy, terrible, out-dated stereotypes. This creates an environment where nothing they say or do is genuine or important to the story, since it is just an insipid non-joke about how Jews and Muslims can’t get along, or Asians are exotic, and the list goes on and on and on.

Sausage Party 1

Sausage Party does try to touch on one theme that isn’t just a dumb joke and that is blind adherence to belief vs. seeking the truth through investigation. This conflict, set up near the midway point by Frank and Brenda, sees itself through during the film’s first climax, when Frank finally finds a way to convince the foods of the store that the tale of the gods is a lie. This dialog could have worked in the film’s favor, but it is handled without any care or insight. It is just that Frank wants to seek the truth and Brenda is happy to exist, bolstered by the idea that they will be together in the great beyond. They have one tense conversation about it, which breaks them apart for a little while, then Frank finds proof of the lie and the conflict is resolved. Real profound stuff.

This film fails in everything it is trying to do. It wants to be controversial or offensive, but it relies too much on references and stereotypes, which are played-out, juvenile, lazy, and stupid. It wants to be funny, but the dialog is so underwritten and crammed with profanity, that it just turns the viewer off completely. It really really wanted to culminate in a huge, all-out, shocking scene, but it turns out the pay-off for the premise of food wanting to have sex is just not that interesting. That Rogen and Goldberg have spent 8 years trying to make Sausage Party is both embarrassing and hopefully a testament to just how terrible it is. Were I a studio executive, being shown even 10 minutes of this crap would result in a call to security to have the people who made it escorted from the premises.

Sausage Party is slated for release sometime in August of this year and I sincerely hope that between now and then, somebody wakes up and decides not to let this hit movie theaters. With films like Superbad and This is the End under their belts, Sausage Party could do irreparable damage to the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Even though the version of the film I saw was a work-in-progress, it appeared that the only real work that will be completed is the animation; the abysmal dialog and face-palm-inducing jokes will likely stay put. That is a real shame. Though, I am sure Adam Sandler will be happy to know that he might no longer be the king of lazy, bottom-of-the-barrel humor come the time that Sausage Party is released.


I like to be challenged to think about things, so I studied Philosophy in college. Now I am paying for it.

1 Response to “SXSW Review: Sausage Party (Work-in-Progress)”

  1. Brian White

    Nice! Finally a review that trashes this! Interesting.