Team America: World Police" is the latest creation from the minds of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with Parker's name cropping up most often in the credits. The film starts out noteworthy for a couple major reasons...first, in find "Thunderbirds" fashion the film is entirely acted out by marionettes...it is an odd, brave film choice that works way more often than one would expect. I made an original statement that if anyone could pull off this film choice it would be Parker/Stone. They do, indeed, largely make this gimmick work and end up with an often entertaining, frequently offensive but oddly generic film that skewers the war on terrorism by making fun of and/or killing everyone involved in the war.
The other reason this film is noteworthy is its now widely publicized marionette sex scene which garnered the film its original NC-17 rating. This NC-17 rating is yet further proof of the complete irrelevance of the MPAA. Does this film deserve its "R" rating? Absolutely. Any film with the song "America...Fuck Yeah" is going to get an "R" rating...especially when the song is played repeatedly throughout the film. Yet, the idea of this song or these scenes or marionette sex (not even anatomically correct marionette sex) leading to an NC-17 is preposterous at best. While I can't say that I'd be rushing to let my teenager (if I had one) view this film, I was acutely aware that there were 4 teenagers in my screening of this film (without an adult escort, I might add) who were probably more streetwise than I am at this point in life. If we can let kids go to public school, then odds are this film isn't going to corrupt them any more.
Fans of "South Park" will find much to enjoy here with many of the voices obviously familiar (since Parker does a number of them) and much of the same humor present. If you don't enjoy "South Park", then odds are you will have little, if any, appreciation for this film beyond its novelty value.
I found myself entertained, laughing and even moved at times throughout this film. While I never forgot I was viewing marionettes, for the vast majority of this film I didn't care...I was into the action, the dialogue and the film itself. In some ways, the stupidity of the film worked to its advantage and sort of brought to mind the film "Zoolander."
What's the point that Parker/Stone are trying to make here? I mean, they clearly trash everyone from the U.S.'s repeated screwing up of the war on terrorism, the ignorance of the terrorists...to the well-meaning but hypocritical celebrity activists...to the world leaders and activists who seem to get their "intelligence" from the evening news. Nobody escapes this film unscathed, but I'm not sure there was a point to it all. Is the war on terrorism stupid or are those fighting the war on terrorism stupid? Who knows? But, watching it lived out onscreen sure is funny.
The aforementioned marionette sex scene is definitely graphic, if you can call a sex scene with marionettes graphic...yet, it had an odd appeal and was actually handled quite nicely. It featured the sort of fake acrobatics and manufactured passions that often exist in Jerry Bruckheimer films.
The songs, including the previously mentioned "America" don't have the usual Parker/Stone over the top edge to them...They do entertain, but they sure don't live up to previous Parker/Stone compositions. I will confess the scene of "Everyone has AIDS" is funny, along with the scene of Kim Jong Il singing "Ronry."
"Team America: World Police" is yet another unique but entertaining film from the world of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It won't please everyone, but fans of Parker/Stone will undoubtedly say "They did it again!" So, yes, I say it...They did it again!