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Team America: World Police

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Team America: World Police

Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Director: Trey Parker
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Elle Russ, Stanley G. Sawicki

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Isn't the spread of AIDS funny? Funnier still would be a large scale attack by terrorists with nuclear weapons, right? And to top it all off, how about all manners of oral, anal and other sex between puppets, gay and straight? With non-stop and repetitive bathroom humor, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, by the creators of "South Park," seems designed to appeal to teenage boys everywhere since all of the above and more, much more, is in this kitchen sink of an over-the-top comedy.

In addition to the rather significant point that TEAM AMERICA is a comedy that never had me laughing, the movie raises an important and troubling point. How far away from the last major attack in a war does one have to be to see it all as one big joke? How effective would filmmakers have been with a comedy in 1944 that poked fun at the action of our troops and the whole idea that a war was even necessary? Certainly TEAM AMERICA, which ridicules both sides of the war on terror, would not have gotten any significant audience in 9/11's aftermath. And if, God forbid, 10/16 or 10/20 or some other date in the near future similarly gets etched in history with a nuclear or biological attack, one suspects that theaters showing the movie will be as desolate as ground zero was after the World Trade Center collapsed.

Many viewers, however, as our audience proved, will embrace this film's outlandish humor, all done with puppets. Reportedly the movie was originally rated NC-17 for graphic puppet sex -- an oral act between two guys -- but was re-rated R after the scene was altered so that it is obvious but no longer explicit. The heterosexual sex is still very explicit.

The story's central premise is that a macho group of commandos, called "Team America," are destroying the world in order to save it from the terrorists. In the opening sequence, Arabs with suitcase bombs are chased all over Paris as our side obliterates every major historical landmark in town in the process of eliminating the bombers. When people die in the film, blood and realistic guts are spilled everywhere.

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, however, is far from a bad movie. The sets, the music and the lighting are all amazing and full of imagination. The film's craftsmanship is simply extraordinary.

But when it comes down to it, even if a pompous Michael Moore decides to blow himself up as a suicide bomber in order to fight American fascism and even if the F.A.G. (Film Actor's Guild) decides to save the world through a naive scheme of world peace that puts its trust in a North Korean despot, the movie just isn't cute enough to overcome its fundamental subject matter. And, no matter how much vomit the puppets produce, their actions just aren't funny.

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE runs 1:38. It is rated R for "graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language; all involving puppets" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

My son Jeffrey and his friend Dustin, both age 15, gave the film ****. They thought it was side-splittingly funny. Their favorite parts were the songs. Jeffrey said that he especially liked it when Moore blew himself up. In fact, his only complaint was about the long and realistic vomit episode, when a lake of puke is produced.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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