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Seth Rogen’s Murderous, Party-Loving Hot Dog Returns in 'Sausage Party'

Seth Rogen’s Murderous, Party-Loving Hot Dog Returns in ‘Sausage Party’
Amazon Studios

Sausage Party, a feature cartoon by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, serves as an R-rated parody of Pixar while also being a genuine creative take on Pixar’s storytelling style. It features a secret world within our own where talking food has its own grocery-store society, dives into human belief systems (religious and otherwise), and includes lots of situational puns—often intertwined with raunchy humor. Perhaps fittingly, like many Pixar productions, Sausage Party has received a years-later follow-up that rekindles the original’s cleverness while occasionally risking overexposure.

Sausage Party: Foodtopia doesn’t pick up exactly from the end of Sausage Party, which hinted at a more meta story involving the food characters meeting their animators and voice actors. Instead, the Prime Video series rewinds to the climactic battle between foods and humans, which quickly results in an apocalypse for the latter. With few people left and foods now free to govern themselves, hot dog Frank (Rogen), his bun partner Brenda (Kristen Wiig), the battle-ready hot dog Barry (Michael Cera), and a sorrowful Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton), among others, must navigate the world outside their crumbling grocery store.

Freshly victorious from their food revolution, Frank and Brenda are optimistic about overcoming challenges like creating a social safety net, dodging a marauding crow, or figuring out why water occasionally falls from the sky. However, everything turns out to be more complex than anticipated—especially with the appearance of one of the last humans, voiced by Will Forte.

It can’t be said that Rogen and Goldberg lack conceptual ambition—eventually. The initial episodes of Foodtopia extensively rehash shock gags from the first film. Sure, sex and violence can be hysterically funny, and they sometimes are here. But the show’s obsession with chaotic cartoon orgies and slapstick-killing humans becomes repetitive, despite pushing the boundaries of adult animation. (A particularly bonkers scene later in the series likely left Forte disappointed he couldn’t perform it in person.)

Sausage Party: Foodtopia

Amazon Studios

Some of the show’s stoner-y thought experiments about a post-apocalyptic food-governed society are funnier: food citizens discovering currency via human teeth trade, drawing the attention of a power-hungry police force led by Barry. Cera delivers an unusually aggressive yet still Cera-like performance, mirroring human flaws such as selfishness, greed, attention-seeking, and bitter division.

Despite some heavy-handed social commentary, Rogen and Goldberg manage to balance it with pure silliness, including food-inspired musical acts like Megan Thee Scallion and Talking Breads. (The Werner Herzog parody is a bit more labored.) The show’s primary issue lies in its pacing. Foodtopia comprises eight 20-minute episodes, effectively extending to a 160-minute sequel to an 89-minute movie, rather than offering a fresh take on the format. Has Rogen forgotten his roots in shows like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, which featured standalone episodes with perfectly judged pacing? Given his recent success with the series Platonic, this seems unlikely. Foodtopia feels more like the tail end of the IP streaming gold rush—a novelty stretched to fill its designated time slot.

Hardcore fans of the Rogen/Goldberg style or those who love animated grotesqueries will likely enjoy Foodtopia. Yet, more than a decade after they began their journey away from the Judd Apatow universe, one might wonder if they’ve leaned too much into branded raunch. Just as Finding Dory evoked nostalgic warmth toward the unsequelized likes of Wall-E or Ratatouille, Sausage Party: Foodtopia might inspire a longing for their older, concise, and character-driven works like Superbad or This Is The End—films that balanced humor and character development without overstaying their welcome. The food citizens of Foodtopia spend much time trying to make the bigger picture work but fail to become characters worthy of Rogen and Goldberg’s talent.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: The Daily Beast