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Sausage Party (2016)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/8/2016

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/14/2016

We've all heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", and no one loves that mindset more than Hollywood. This certainly applies to modern animated films, specifically the CG ones. These films, most notably those from Pixar, often follow a very specific formula and rarely divert from it. A character, or more often, a mismatched pair of characters, get lost or separated from their group, and go on an adventure. Toy Story started this pattern, and very few movies have seen fit to do anything different. Given this, if one were going to spoof one of these films, tackling that formula would be a great place to start. Of course, one would also want to include some jokes, and that's where Sausage Party goes wrong.

Shopwell's Grocery Store is a magical place, where all of the various food products love their lives. Every day when the store opens, they sing a song of praise and await their turn to be purchased. This will allow them to go to the "Great Beyond". Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) is a hot dog who can't wait to be bought, so that he can finally be with Brenda (voiced by Kristen Wiig), a bun. They live next to each other in a display and plan their lives together. However, things begin to go awry when Honey Mustard (voiced by Danny McBride), returns from a trip to the outside world, proclaiming that the "Great Beyond" is a lie. While they are about to leave the store, Frank and Brenda not only fall out of their packaging, but get separated. While their friends are learning what humans do to food, Frank and Brenda attempt to reunite.

Seth Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, along with Jonah Hill came up with the concept of Sausage Party and it's pretty clear that their goal was to skewer modern-day CG movies. The film's main premise is a riff on Toy Story 2, as witness store-bound characters who are interested in/frightened of the outside world. We get the familiar story where these creatures have their idyllic world upset and they must go on some sort of trek of redemption. The movie features a diverse group of entities and Sausage Party really runs with the grocery store theme, as it features many different kinds of food, using this notion to portray a wide array of characters.

On top of this, Rogen, Goldberg, and Hill (and the other writers credited here) have come up with just one other idea -- Have the food use a lot of profanity. And that's the entire movie. Right out of the gate, Frank and his friends drop a tone of f-bombs and use any scatological term that you can name. OK, it's clear that the movie wants to be very up-front with the fact that it's going to be raunchy and it's clear that it wants to shock us. Which is fine -- in the event that a child stumbled onto the film, they would know from the get-go that this wasn't family fare.

But there is nothing clever here. We get nasty and some bit of corny, but the movie never aims for anything higher than the gutter. The movie seems to think that if a bunch of animated characters emit a series of "dick and fart jokes" that it will be a recipe for success. Instead, we get an incredibly repetitive film that feels much, much longer than its 90-minute running time. I don't think that many viewers will be truly invested in the "story" here -- if you are intrigued by Frank's journey, then you are truly starved for entertainment -- so all that the movie has going for it is the adult humor. And when a movie thinks that a violent douche is the height of hilarity, it is working on a whole other level -- and I don't mean that in a good way. Making a raunchy version of Pixar movies (and that was clearly the aim here, as we see a "Dixar" bumper sticker. Hilarious!) is something which actually has potential, but when are working the level of Seth Rogen, where pot is the most important thing, it will certainly go awry.

Sausage Party is no wiener on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fantastic and the image is never overly dark or bright. While the animation here is no Pixar quality, it looks good and the transfer does not reveal any issues with the CG. The depth is good and the picture shows good detail. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The mix does a great job of showing off the various sounds which come from around the grocery store. The action sequences feature strong surround sound and stereo effects, as well as notable subwoofer action.

The Sausage Party Blu-ray Disc contains several extra features. "Good Food Gag Reel" (7 minutes) brings us footage from the recording studio showing the voice actors flubbing their lines or losing their cool. "Shock and Awe: How Did this Get Made?" (5 minutes) has Rogen and Goldberg, along with some other members of the team, explaining the challenge of selling this odd concept, and what it finally took to get things underway. "The Booth" (9 minutes) again takes us into the recording booth, and offers a look at even more of the actors doing their lines. This goes a bit further and explains the recording process. "Line-O-Rama" (5 minutes) shows us how the actors tried out various alternative lines during the recording process. Composer Christopher Lennertz and Song Writer/Composer Alan Menken discuss their approach to the music in the film in "The Great Beyond" (4 minutes). "The Pitch" (4 minutes) looks like an archive piece in which Goldberg and Rogen explain how to sell a project. "Seth Rogen's Animation Imaginatorium" (1 minute) is a fake piece in which Rogen spoofs Walt Disney.

Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long