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dir Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon
scr Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
prd Seth Rogen, Megan Ellison, Conrad Vernon
voices Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Nick Kroll, Bill Hader, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride
release US 12.Aug.16, UK 2.Sep.16
16/US Columbia 1h29
Horror on aisle 9: Brenda, Frank, Sammy and Lavash
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
With animation at about the level of a Saturday morning cartoon, and a steady stream of juvenile vulgarity, this comedy satire is more than a little exhausting. It's also something of a guilty pleasure, and much more than that for stoners in the audience.
In Shopwell's supermarket, the groceries can't wait to be purchased and taken to the Great Beyond. But a warning from a returned jar of honey mustard (McBride) shakes their faith, leaving hot dog Frank (Rogen) and bun Brenda (Wiig) stranded without their packaging. On their way back to their shelf, Frank consults Native American spirit Firewater (Hader), who confirms that the Great Beyond is a myth: human gods are going to eat us. Meanwhile, just-purchased wieners Carl and Barry (Hill and Cera) witness the horror firsthand. So everyone decides to take control of their destiny.
The script is witty but not particularly clever, packing every line of dialog with both profanity and leery double entendres. So everything begins to sound rather repetitive. The ongoing dispute between bagel Sammy (Norton) and flatbread Lavash (Krumholtz) has its moments. And the villain of the piece is, literally, a douche (Kroll). There's also a rather amusingly oversexed taco (Hayek), and a couple of humans (Franco and Rudd) with the munchies.
The animation is simple and silly, which kind of matches the screenplay, with moments of explicitly animated but mostly food-based sexuality and violence. The filmmakers have a great time playing with a variety of genres, from stoner comedies to hyper-violent horror to epic battle action. The central plot about trying to traverse the store never quite makes any sense, but the various set-pieces have plenty of attitude and no end of rude one-liners, movie references and fourth-wall breaking.
With a script that makes such straightforward one-note gags, there isn't much the cast can do with the characters, but they clearly enjoy diving into the escalating craziness. Thankfully, the film is peppered with flashes of sharp wit, some likably funny characters and a few smartly pointed lines. But it's also utterly stupid, especially as it builds to a ridiculous supermarket orgy. So the only audience members who will find this movie entertaining are the ones who have already visited the alcohol aisle.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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