Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the sausage, Brenda (Kristen Wiig) the hot dog bun, Teresa Taco (Salma Hayek) and Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) can’t wait to go home with a happy customer. Soon, their world comes crashing down as poor Frank learns the horrifying truth that he will eventually become a meal. After warning his pals about their similar fate, the panicked perishables devise a plan to escape from their human enemies.
When “R-rated animated food-based film” comes to mind, first you wonder why then you wonder how is it going to work. The answers to those questions would be why not and surprisingly well. Based on the people behind this in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the pair behind Superbad, This Is the End, and countless other great comedies, this definitely is in good hands. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s animated because, it earns its R-rating and it is not for children and this is evident fairly early on.
The film is about a group of food items in a grocery store including a sausage named Frank (Rogen), his hot dog bun girlfriend named Brenda (Wiig), a taco named Teresa (Hayek), a bagel named Sammy Bagel Jr. (Norton), and many others. Their lives have been leading up to the moments in which they are chosen and then taken to the “Great Beyond”. Once Frank learns the truth about their real fates (which we already all know), it is up to him to save his friends.
The film starts off innocently enough with an animation style that is very bright and colorful along with cutesy looking and voiced characters singing about wanting to be chosen. The film features a range of characters who will surely offend some viewers. From a Hitler-looking jar of sauerkraut, Asian-sounding bottles of soy sauce, an African-American box of grits, and Irish-sounding potatoes just to name a few. Basically items would sound like stereotypes and/or caricatures based on where they’re from. This shouldn’t be funny but it was. Maybe that’s why this is an animated film since cutesy looking food items just get away with more, beit for the language and/or all the food-related puns.
After Frank is warned by a jar of honey mustard (Danny McBride) that the “Great Beyond” may not be all that it was cracked up to be, leaving Frank’s beliefs shaken, forcing him to question all he’s ever known. Separated from their packaging and their friends, Frank and Brenda set out through the grocery store in pursuit of answers. This pursuit led them to a series of more offensive, stereotypical characters including a Woody Allen sounding bagel named Sammy Bagel Jr. (Norton) and a lavash (David Krumholtz), hinting at the Israel and Palestine conflict, and a taco named Teresa (Hayek). They were not alone as they were being pursued themselves by a literal douche (Nick Kroll). Watching them travel around the store and encountering all these creative areas within the store was fun to watch, especially a run-in with a pack of Canadian beer who constantly apologized for running into things.
While there are a lot of puns and offensive humor, there is much more going on as the film was surprisingly deep, tackling many topics and issues relevant to today. We previously learned about what it means to be alive by a magical corpse in Swiss Army Man and now we get to do the same by talking food here. The big discussion was what about their main purpose in life was and where it all leads and whether or not there is a higher power. While we ultimately know the truth, they think they get to go to the “Great Beyond”. Seeing the character’s cheerful optimism makes it even funnier once some of them finally learn the truth (as some of you may have seen in the trailers).
Once Frank learned about the truth, he had to convince the other food which was easier said than done. The whole idea of the “Great Beyond” was concocted in order to protect perishables from the truth. This brought back the discussion on religion and the respect of different beliefs and whether we should be more questioning or more accepting. This led to a satisfying, epic showdown with an even more surprising end which you have to see to believe. The voice acting was great all around with some unrecognizable ones, primarily Norton with his Woody Allen impression as Sammy Bagel Jr. The only lowpoint would be Kroll’s douche who may have done a little too much.
Overall, this is a hilarious animated film that definitely took advantage of its R-rating, still offering a surprising amount of depth and smarts underneath.