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Sausage Party: Foodtopia Goes Bad Long Before It’s Over

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What if, like, food could talk, man? And what if they said swears and had orgies? Those sentences, I’m sure, billowed out of the presumably hotboxed pitch room of 2016’s “Sausage Party,” the too-raunchy-by-half adult animated comedy that featured rubbery food items bumping various simulated nasties and being torn apart in ways suggesting real human viscera. It wasn’t any great shakes, but it was at least novel: Suitably vulgar and outrageous for its brief, unafraid to push buttons or trot out every racial stereotype in the book. Fear, then, dear traveler, for “Sausage Party” has a sequel in the most disappointing of forms: An eight-episode series for Prime Video that simply regurgitates the same tired material as the film, while adding little to the recipe.

Hot off the heels of the end of the preceding film, “Sausage Party: Foodtopia” sees the culinary residents of Shopwell’s Market waging a deliciously devastating war on mankind for the crime of masticating them and turning them into food. When the dust settles, the food is victorious; nearly all mankind has been eradicated, and the brats and buns and pickles and potatoes can have the knock-down, drag-out sex party creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg presumably found so hilarious. Alas, they don’t know about water, so when a flood comes to melt, dissolve, and otherwise kill a significant portion of the Shopwell’s population, series heroes Frank (Rogen) and Brenda (Kristen Wiig) go out to find whatever humans may be left. Maybe someone can explain where all this water came from — or, at the very least, fix the roof of the decrepit Shopwell’s so the water can’t kill them from inside. 

It’s an idiotic premise, made even worse by “Foodtopia”‘s format: It feels like the script for a theatrical sequel was thrown into a taffy puller and extended to eight twenty-minute episodes, each of which is duller and more belabored than the last. As with the first film, the main ingredient in “Sausage Party”‘s kitchen is food puns: Kishka Hargitay, Iced T, an existential Jewish bagel named Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton, putting on his worst Woody Allen). Get ready for them to come fast and furious (oh, there’s also “fast and furious” jokes too), each groaner digging another white-hot icepick into your cerebellum. 

The plot, such as it revolves around the show’s deliberately off-putting, butt-ugly animation, eventually coalesces into creaky 2016-level Trump allegories (there’s a lying ORANGE politician named Julius (Sam Richardson) introducing capitalism to the sunny climes of Foodtopia’s socialist paradise!) and Frank and Brenda’s attempts to commune with a wayward human (Will Forte, once again the Last Man on Earth) who might be able to fix their human problems. But these developments feel phoned in, mere window dressing to get to the next food joke or classic-rock hit with lyrics replaced with aching food puns. Eat your heart out, Weird Al.

It’s really a sight to behold, especially sober (though I have it on good authority that being under the influence of certain herbal substances hardly helps the jokes); each episode sports at least one minutes-long groaner of a food joke, or butchered pop song, or strangely sincere character moment among food items we’ve just seen stuff each other like it’s Market Days. None of the episodes feel balanced, teetering between vulgar animated political thriller and loping hamburger hangout picture at any given scene. If the concept of a benefit concert featuring The Talking Breads, Olive-ia Rodrigo, and a rendition of the “Macaroni” makes you chortle with delight, this might be for you. But also, seek help.

“Foodtopia” is very, very stupid, and knowingly, winkingly so. It’s a delivery system for some of the most awful food puns you’ve ever heard or seen, delivered through an eye-stinging visual style and a cast of way-overqualified A-list actors their friends could wrangle into a VO booth (Do you think Kristen Wiig remembers any of the lines she read in this?). Its attempts to channel its vulgarity into broader points about money in politics, or how capitalism begets greed and increased inequality, get lost among all the baffling pop culture references to stuff like “Apocalypse Now” and “Call Me By Your Name.” It feels like the writers threw darts at a joke board and threw them in the script like Mad Libs. Really, it’s just more content slop to throw on the buffet, for those five stoners who still remember “Sausage Party” and would rather just have more of that, just without any new material. 

All episodes screened for review. All episodes drop on Prime Video on July 11.

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