Comedy films are a special breed. While the main criteria for them is to be funny, I believe they should also strive to be actually good narratives. Comedies are still films and deserve to be taken just as seriously as any drama, thriller, or what have you. They are films all the same, all just with a different agenda of what emotion they want to elicit from the audience. Comedies may arguably be the most challenging type of film to make, as not only do you need a good script to keep the audience interested, but you also have to make them laugh. When that comedy film is also animated and totally R-rated, it becomes an ambitious and interesting project all its own. Sausage Party, the new, crude animated film from the deranged minds of Seth Rogen and his entourage, absolutely succeeds in every respect.

In the drab and depressing real world, food takes on a life of its own in the ever so vibrant and colorful Shopwell’s. Every morning, the entire inventory of food and various other supermarket products break out into a song, claiming that one day the Gods (humans) will come and take them to Paradise. Our hero is a hot dog named Frank (Seth Rogen), whose main goal is to get all up inside his future soulmate, the hot dog bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig). Luckily, they are both chosen by the Gods, but unfortunately for them, a shell-shocked jar of honey mustard that has returned from the great beyond and reveals the horrifying truth: the Gods love torturing them and devouring them. After a catastrophic grocery cart spill where Frank, Brenda, and other foodstuff characters are stranded in the closed grocery store, they all embark on an epic journey throughout the vast supermarket in order to find out the truth and hopefully save their brethren from certain doom.

There’s something to be said about films that completely shatter your expectations, but this one doesn’t just shatter them. It keeps rebuilding them and shattering them over and over until you’re absolutely numb; numb from laughing so hard. I honestly can’t remember that last time a theatrically released comedy film has put me into tearful hysterics. While the premise initially seems it will wear itself thin, as they really open the flood gates of vulgar and raunchy humor from the beginning, the film keeps sucker punching you with hilariously clever visual gags coming from all angles. It does absolutely everything it can with the unique premise and puts it into overdrive until the end credits finally role. A lot of great comedies over the past few years have had some great laughs throughout, but they were usually somewhat spaced out. With this, I felt like I was laughing throughout every frame.

Not only is the film hilarious, but the script is actually very tight and well written. However, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me, as I think Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are the best working comedy screenwriters in film today. With the help of Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, who both had a hand in writing last year’s fantastic Seth Rogen vehicle The Night Before, they are all smart enough to know that outrageously raunchy humor isn’t enough to keep audiences completely invested. The characters actually have their own distinct motivations and arcs, the plot keeps going in crazy, yet logical directions, and every single joke and aspect to the movie has a great set-up with an even better payoff. There’s even some commentary on religious and personal beliefs thrown in there, that really make the novel concept feel even more unique and rich. Everything about how this film was written and executed was pretty much flawless. I feel like Rogen and his entourage don’t get enough credit, as people usually say their films are nothing but “pot humor”. While their films always have that content, there’s still always that humanity and sincerity to it, and the characters always feel somewhat relatable and real. Who knew I would ever actually be invested in the plight of a cartoon hot dog?

Credit must also be given to the fantastic directors and animators who brought this film to life. Everything is just so beautifully detailed. Cereal boxes with concerned eyes line the shelves and observe characters arguing, bottles of alcohol are all throwing a crazy party in the middle of the night, and many other clever visual gags throughout that I don’t want to spoil. The world felt so alive. I can’t wait to watch it again to see all that I missed. There’s a visual dichotomy between the grungy, almost black and white real world, compared to the bright and colorful world that food experience, which was a great touch in order to differentiate the two worlds. Everything is supremely detailed, especially during the amazingly visceral sequences of violence. I think personified food getting gruesomely murdered is quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

Humor is completely subjective and this film is certainly not for everybody. There is a lot of humor that many would consider offensive, but for my sick sense of humor and the way the film handled it all, I couldn’t get enough. Personally, not only is Sausage Party the most clever, unique, inventive, and hysterical animated film I’ve seen all year, it’s the best film I’ve seen so far this year, in general. Nothing but laughs, beautiful animation, fantastic voice acting from the entire cast, and a carefully well written script to hold it all together. Congratulations, Seth Rogen and company, you made a film about a hot dog and a bun getting horny for each other my favorite film of 2016. Hats off to you.


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