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
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