Director: Trey Parker
Release Date: 15 October 2004
Total Running Time: 98 Minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Editor’s Rating: 4 out of 4 AMERICAS
Back in the late 1990s, two guys from Colorado sold a show called South Park to Comedy Central. It made everyone do one of two things: laugh uncontrollably, or write very angry letters (this was still when snail mail was still sort of prominent) to Comedy Central. Either way, the show was a smash success, and it has been running for the better part of 20 years. The shows creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have been able to fund several ventures into film and stage through their successes with South Park, from a South Park movie to a comedy starring Parker where he plays a Mormon that stumbles into the adult film industry. However, in the mid-2000s, at the height of the Bush Administration’s hype, they released a film that single-handedly skewered their policies. And they did it with puppets.
Team America: World Police, for those who have never seen it, is the single greatest motion picture ever released. Starring puppets. The story revolves around Gary, a brilliantly talented actor being recruited to join Team America, the top task force to police terrorist activity around the world. Of course, Team America are horrible at their job and ridiculously insensitive, being blissfully ignorant of their terribility. They also have no regard for human life or the Geneva Convention as well. And when they come across the biggest threat to freedom and democracy the world has ever seen since Michael Moore, they’re going to need every single skill they have up their sleeves to save the day.
Let me just say this straight out: this is not a movie for children. This is not a movie for most adults. This is a film for anyone who can find humor in the tasteless and the insanely satirical. Language and violence pervade Team America, but when one realizes it’s all being done with puppets, and realizing that the film revels in that fact, it becomes quite possibly one of the most memorable moviegoing experiences you will ever see.
Also, on top of everything, this is a musical. Parker and Stone, like their spiritual little brother Seth MacFarlane, have a flair for the musical, and understand the medium’s power for bringing levity to virtually anything, and songs like “Montage,” “Freedom Isn’t Free,” and “I’m So Ronery” among others don’t just do that, but turn the absurdity and funny up to eleven. Most of this film is so dirty I really can’t talk particulars, but rest assured, if you love South Park or vulgar, nasty humor, this will leave you rolling on the floor and hitting replay again and again.
As it rolls on, the plot becomes more and more convoluted and the stunts fly further and further over the top. The film not only lambasts the conservatives, but takes a gleeful delight in dismantling the hoity-toity self-image of know-it-all liberal actors like Matt Damon.
Matt Damon. Matt Damon Matt Damon.
No action film is safe either - this movie is plastic balls-to-the-wall action, like Roland Emmerich's play set when he was eight. I'm paraphrasing here, but if you own the DVD and have access to the behind-the-scenes extras, Trey Parker actually says that the reason the movie is so over-the-top is because they wanted to make a movie just like a Jerry Bruckheimer film but with puppets, so people could see how stupid it was. Want to see if they got it right? Check the film out for yourself.
**This film is part of my personal collection that comes and goes very often because friends and family keep “borrowing” it. I was not compensated for this review in any way.**