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Sausage Party a grocery gross-out

In a summer packed with animated features, Sausage Party holds the distinction of being the only R-rated one – and it achieves that distinction within the first few minutes during an opening musical number. This is definitely not a cartoon for kids.

It’s not just the sausage having a party here, but the entire inventory of a supermarket, with each item just hoping to be purchased – by “the gods” – unaware that they’ll soon be cooked, drunk, or otherwise consumed.

Leading the proverbial weenie roast is Frank (voiced by screenwriter/producer Seth Rogen), a happy-go-lucky hot-dog sausage who can’t wait to get into his dream girl, a bun named Brenda (voiced by Kristen Wiig). This entails quite a bit of lusty, raunchy dialogue between the two – which certainly cannot be reprinted here.

The star-studded voice-over cast also includes Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, UNCSA School of Drama graduate Danny McBride (as “Honey Mustard,” who knows full well the score about what happens when purchased), Craig Robinson, directors Craig Tiernan (making his debut) and Conrad Weaver, and long-time Rogen collaborators and buddies Jonah Hill, James Franco and Michael Cera. Nick Kroll voices the villainous “Douche,” and you can guess some of the jokes that entails.

Rogen and fellow screenwriters Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shiffer and Evan Goldberg (the latter also a producer with Rogen) toss out a barrage of sight gags and slapstick, hoping it sticks. Enough does to make Sausage Party a crowd-pleaser. Some gags are inspired – including such items as “Popped Cherry Cocktail Mix,” “Chunk Munchers Cereal” and “Fudge- Packed Cookies” – and others are real groaners, but the writers have enough knowledge of comedy history to gleefully throw in jokes that would barely pass muster in the borscht belt.

When it’s not spoofing the Middle East conflict, Native American mysticism or free-wheeling sexuality – all of which it does — the film includes the requisite number of drug references (a Rogen mainstay) and an endless stream of profanity.

Actually, the profanity is so incessant that the instances in which it’s used creatively are buried underneath the excess.

Still, it’s easy to enjoy Sausage Party on its own lowbrow terms. It aims to please, and for its intended audience (arrested adolescents of all ages) it does just that. !

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