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Sausage Party review – Seth Rogen’s surprisingly tasty supermarket sweep

Thorough world-building Brenda (Kristen Wiig), Frank (Seth Rogen), Sammy (Ed Norton) and Lavash (David Krumholtz) in Sausage Party.

Talk about fresh. Seth Rogen s naughty food cartoon Sausage Party is, like much of his best work, deceptive packaging. The script he and his usual collaborator Evan Goldberg have written (in conjunction with Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir) seems, at first, to trade solely on anthropomorphised food using profanity on supermarket shelves. This is mildly amusing at first but, like a bun out of its Cellophane, threatens to go stale. That s when a jar of honey mustard gets returned.

Related: Welcome to the sausage party! Why we’re about to see a new golden age of rude cartoons1

The supermarket is what Erving Goffman might call a total institution. Its occupants (food from around the world) are kept compliant by an unprovable belief system. If they are good and obey the gods, they will one day be chosen and taken to the Great Beyond (outside the gleaming automated doors in a cart.) But they will only get picked if they remain pure of spirit; the unfresh get tossed into a dusty bin by a sadist tormentor (actually just a teen bored with his job.) This fear prevents sausages and buns from getting intimate, despite their urges to conjoin. This is all preposterous, but stick with it; it s just the tip of surprisingly thorough world-building in this quite-clever comedy. Our lead sausage Frank (voiced by Rogen) is upbeat, cheery and randy for his shelfmate Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a bun who returns his affection. All is well at the store, with the happy food singing songs of praise to the gods who will one day scoop them up. (Unlike Toy Story, where humans are never around to catch the living toys, humans just can t see the true reality.) But when that shellshocked honey mustard (Danny McBride) returns with stories of the gods actually being bloodthirsty monsters, things start to change. The first of a number of extraordinary set-pieces comes when our heroes end up selected (yay!), but an overturned cart leads to chaos. A punctured bag of white flour provides a 9/11-esque cloud. There is a shocking amount of proper, terrorising fear during this and subsequent scenes. There has to be for the comedy to work. I d personally be OK allowing children to see the goofy prurience in this film, but it s the horrific imagery (some of which apes Saving Private Ryan) that might freak a kid out.

Sausage Party trailer: Seth Rogan and Kristen Wiig in adult cartoon comedy2 Warning: this video contains strong language

Disrupted, Frank and Brenda must get back to their aisle in the hopes of repackaging themselves without getting tossed. On their march they are joined by a Jewish bagel (Edward Norton doing the most over-the-top Woody Allen impersonation since Rick Moranis) and an Arabic lavash (David Krumholtz) whose belief in the Great Beyond includes being doused in 77 bottles of virgin olive oil. The pair bicker ( You ve even occupied the West Bank of the aisle! ), and as the foursome make tracks, they discover they are being hunted by an angry vaginal douche. The douche, sleazily voiced by Nick Kroll, is a play on steroid-jacked Italian-Americans. (Yes, there s a scene where he gets juiced. ) Racial stereotypes await on every aisle, which will undoubtedly be a third rail for some viewers. My attitude is that if you want to play in that sandbox, you have to be sure to insult everyone and, more importantly, make sure the jokes work. Sausage Party features an adorable potato (with googly eyes all over its body!) happily singing Danny Boy, then, just before a surprise peeling, shouting, Jaysus Fook! I dunno there are some things in this world that are beautiful. There s a lot that s goofy in Sausage Party, like when a doper on bath salts can suddenly see and hear the living food in his house, and a Stephen Hawking-inspired piece of chewed-up bubblegum, but there is (I swear) a richer message, too. This is a pro-reason, pro-knowledge story that is vehemently against the corruption found in organised religion, but not in a paint-the-word- atheist -across-your-chest-like-Ricky Gervais3 kind of way. In fact, if there s any message in the movie, it s that even if you think someone else is being dumb, you aren t going to win them over by rubbing their noses in their stupidity. Something to consider right now as we get closer to an election where one candidate s supporters seem too stupid to tie their own shoes.

And another message: everyone would probably be happier if they were screwing. Sausage Party is a movie with an extended climax, and before the final ending there s an already much discussed food orgy that, no joke, is something you need to see to believe. The whole thing is so tasty, you may just want seconds.

References

  1. ^ Welcome to the sausage party! Why we’re about to see a new golden age of rude cartoons (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ Sausage Party trailer: Seth Rogan and Kristen Wiig in adult cartoon comedy (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ paint-the-word- atheist -across-your-chest-like-Ricky Gervais (images.huffingtonpost.com)

Diary of a Madman at Edinburgh festival review – a tragic clown meets modernity

Guy Clark and Liam Brennan as Matt White and Pop Sheeran in Diary of a Madman at the Traverse, Edinburgh. Photograph: Iona Firouzabadi

Related: Edinburgh festival planner: three shows to see today1

In Nikolai Gogol2 s short story Diary of a Madman, Poprishchin is a lowly Russian civil servant driven mad by his lack of status and his confusion at a changing world. In Al Smith s play, he has become Pop Sheeran, whose family trade is painting the Forth Bridge3. It takes a year, and as soon as he finishes he has to start over again. The future is rushing towards Pop faster than the 7.05 express and his instability is starting to show.

The marauding English have arrived in the shape of Matt White (geddit?), the Harrow-educated son of a knight who Pop thinks has designs on his daughter, Sophie. Meanwhile, a Qatari company has bought the bridge and is insisting that Pop uses a new kind of paint. With the future uncertain and his identity under threat, Pop retreats into fantasies of Scotland s glorious past, fuelled by the dialogue he has with a soft-toy replica of the Skye terrier Greyfriars Bobby4.

Diary Of A Madman At Edinburgh Festival Review – A Tragic Clown Meets Modernity Deborah Arnott (Mavra Sheeran) and Liam Brennan. Photograph: Iona Firouzabadi

There s plenty of meat in this exploration of globalisation and its impact on the daily lives of ordinary people blown hither and thither by the winds of change, but the play is way too baggy and while some of the writing is sharply funny, the production fails to balance the farcical and the tragic. It is well worth seeing, though, for Liam Brennan s tender performance as Pop, a tragic clown out of time and out of a job.

At the Traverse, Edinburgh5, to 28 August. Box office: 0131-228 1404.

References

  1. ^ Edinburgh festival planner: three shows to see today (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ Nikolai Gogol (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ Forth Bridge (www.theguardian.com)
  4. ^ Greyfriars Bobby (www.historic-uk.com)
  5. ^ the Traverse, Edinburgh (tickets.edfringe.com)

Shooters’ body reviews membership of gun owner involved in violent video

Australia s peak shooting body is reviewing the membership of a firearms holder who filmed a violent video of what appears to be an effigy of the grand mufti being shot and incinerated. A series of videos filmed by Shooting Stuff Australia, an online group of gun enthusiasts, has alarmed gun control groups about increasingly violent rhetoric being used by some gun owners. One video depicts a plush toy effigy of the grand muffin which appears to be a caricature of the grand mufti laden with an explosives belt decapitating Santa Claus. Another shows them shooting a female character wearing a hijab. One of the men in the video says: Shit there s another one, a breeder.

Related: Gun owners who made video of Grand Mufti effigy being shot face calls for ban1

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia s Queensland2 spokesman, Geoff Jones, confirmed it was reviewing the membership of Martin Phillips, one of the men involved in the online group. In one of the group s YouTube videos, Phillips explains how the genuine reason requirement needed for obtaining gun licences can be obtained in Queensland, using his own membership with SSAA as an example.

I m not a huge fan of the way they operate, he said in the video.3 I just joined SSAA because it was quick and easy. After Guardian Australia s report about the group, Jones said: SSAA Queensland is currently reviewing the membership of Mr Martin Phillips. Our review will follow the proper due processes as we conduct our own internal investigation into whether Mr Phillips retains or loses his membership. That being said, we will not tolerate anyone who brings the integrity of our sport into question.

Phillips denies he is a member of the SSA. He stated: I left SSAA in 2015 and joined another club that offered better benefits to members. Plain and simple. The online group s actions also led Greens MP David Shoebridge to write to the New South Wales police commissioner, Andrew Scipione, asking him to investigate a number of individuals who he says have posted material that appears to advocate political and ethnic violence. In an earlier statement the SSAA s national media manager, Kate Fantinel, said: All members must adhere to a strict code of conduct, which includes preserving the good image of our sport and the association at all times. While the SSAA is proud of Australia s culture of larrikinism and mateship, the ownership and use of firearms is a privilege that should not be abused.

Membership of Australia s biggest shooting organisation does not entitle any member to use firearms irresponsibly, nor does it pave the way for easy access or ownership of a firearm.

The SSAA takes firearms safety seriously; we expect our 180,000+ members to behave in a safe and ethical manner at all times.

But she criticised Shoebridge s concerns raised about the group.

While we appreciate Mr Shoebridge s concerns, we must point out that if he was seriously concerned about firearms ending up in the wrong hands, he would not have published a website giving criminals the location of registered firearms across New South Wales, she said. The comment is a reference to Shoebridge s Too Many Guns website4, which uses data provided by NSW police to catalogue gun ownership by suburb in the state. Shoebridge said the response to the online group and the defensiveness of the gun lobby pointed to a serious cultural problem with firearms use in Australia.

Even when the most serious cases of inappropriate firearms use are raised there are still large parts of the gun lobby that refuse to acknowledge any fault, he said.

When you raise quite reasonable and legitimate concerns, the level of vitriol being used is really alarming.

References

  1. ^ Gun owners who made video of Grand Mufti effigy being shot face calls for ban (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ Queensland (www.theguardian.com)
  3. ^ video. (www.youtube.com)
  4. ^ Too Many Guns website (www.toomanyguns.org)