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Foodtopia Review: You Might Cringe at the Excessive Fruit and Veg Imagery
‘Prepare to enjoy the stream of grossout humour’ … Sausage Party: Foodtopia. Photograph: Courtesy of Prime Video

The important thing about Sausage Party: Foodtopia is to know what you’re getting into and to admit to yourself that it is exactly what you are looking for. An animated series starring Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Will Forte, and Michael Cera, following on from the 2016 animated film about what happens when food becomes sentient and starts fighting back against its human enemy, is not Heimat. You know that. Own it, and prepare to enjoy the stream of gross-out humour and perfectly crafted idiocy that is about to be unleashed upon you.

On all those scores, Sausage Party: Foodtopia delivers. Indeed, in episode six, which Prime deemed worthy of a pre-credits warning for one scene, you might say it overdelivers. I blame The Boys, but that’s the only clue you’re getting.

The series is not a direct follow-on from the film, which ended with the heroes setting off to tackle their human creators in another dimension. Gum, the Stephen Hawking-esque wheelchair-using genius from the original, delivers a swift recap of the basic premise – flinging bath salts at humans makes the walls between their and food’s realities dissolve, enabling food to fight back (“Scotch! On the rocks!” “Operation Commence Dessert Storm!”) and the massacre of all humans to occur. Then we’re in the newly established Foodtopia, led by Frank (a hotdog, voiced by Rogen), his love Brenda (a bun, Wiig), and his best friend Barry (another hotdog, depressed and purposeless now that the revolution is won, voiced by Cera).

Everyone (apart from Sammy Bagel Jr – Edward Norton impersonating Woody Allen – who is mourning the loss in battle of his best friend Lavash) is dizzy with success. After dispatching one last surviving human, who stumbles drunkenly into their midst so we can all enjoy a set piece full of puns and inventive violence, they get down to utopian business – “Doing whatever we want in perfect harmony!” trills Brenda, inaugurating an extended sequence of equally inventive fruit and veg porn. Peppers get stuffed, oil and water try mixing, doughnut and banana get together with rather more success. It puts a very different complexion on the Munch Bunch. And anyone who remembers their Ladybird Garden Gang books with fondness may wish to turn away.

Unfortunately, into every comestible’s life a little rain must fall. And when this literally happens, everybody panics and the unluckier ones – ice lollies, unpackaged soft stuff – die. Supermarket-sheltered all their lives, this is one of many phenomena with which they must now cope. They manage to kidnap another surviving human, whom Frank and Brenda want to use as a source of vital information about this strange new world and who Barry wants to sacrifice before a large crowd during a music festival – he’ll call it Burning Man.

On we barrel, through an uncountable number of gags, references to particular movies and wider genres, and every traditional storytelling beat (Gum dies a hero’s death, because “With great elasticity comes great responsibility”) is hit with a sturdy hammer.

Amid the jokes and the porn, there is a fair amount of well done – not subtle, but well done – satirical commentary on the world that currently feels as if we have all been ingesting bath salts by the bucket, but is in fact real. Of course, there is a mad (actual) orange challenger for leadership of the new community – Julius (Sam Richardson), who preys on people’s fears and dishes out lavish promises and bribes to rig the election. The police force that Barry establishes (employing Christopher Bologna, Kishka Hargitay, and Iced Tea) quickly becomes corrupt. Poverty and slums start appearing but nobody likes the solution Brenda invents – and illustrates with the help of an actual pie – for redistributing wealth. Soon she is also inventing communism while Frank tries desperately to find a middle way.

There will of course be those who will never warm to Sausage Party’s relentless puerility and will have to leave in search of Heimat again. But for those of us who love this stuff (and I am here for any anthropomorphized pets, toys, or food you wanna build a story around), it’s a glorious addition to the genre. It’s solidly made, structured with care, talented actors forming an unbroken chain of great performances, and with enough underlying heft to make it that bit more than simply a first-class joke factory.

Source: Prime Video