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South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Director: Trey Parker
Rated: R
RunTime: 88 Minutes
Release Date: June 1999
Genres: Animation, Comedy

*Also starring: Isaac Hayes, George Clooney, Minnie Driver, Eric Idle, Mike Judge

Review by MrBrown
3½ stars out of 4

The notoriously naughty youngsters of controversial animated _South_Park_ have hit the big screen, and if you're a living, breathing, flesh-and-blood human being, chances are that there will be at least one thing about this _Bigger,_Longer_&_Uncut_ adventure that you will find completely, totally offensive. No one is safe: women, Jews, blacks, gays, Canadians--not even fans of the series itself are free from co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's all-encompassing satirical net. Not even non-fans such as myself can escape, for this relentless, envelope-obliterating comedy is, quite simply, one of the sharpest and funniest films one is likely to see in this or any other year.

The _South_Park_ series never had more than a negligible novelty value for me; after 15 minutes, not only did the TV-MA crudity of the language and subject matter get old, but so did the restrictions of being on basic cable. To me, Parker and Stone always seemed to be on to something but were never quite allowed to get there; though they operated under more relaxed standards at Comedy Central, those were standards nonetheless. In the R-rated arena of the big screen, all bets are off, and Parker and Stone take full advantage of the freedom to take aim at everyone and everything, in any way they see _un_fit.

So it should come as no surprise that their long list of mercilessly skewered targets includes, among others, the aforementioned groups as well as figures such as the Baldwin brothers, Bill Gates, Barbra Streisand, and--to the delight of many an audience member--Jar Jar Binks. What is surprising is, though, is that perhaps their most prominent target is themselves. In a refreshing, smartly self-referential twist, _Bigger,_Longer_&_Uncut_'s plot revolves around the effect that an R-rated animated feature has on the familiar four of Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and the perpetually ill-fated Kenny McCormick (all voiced by either Parker or Stone), as well as the rest of the young population of South Park. With all the gradeschoolers now cursing bluestreaks around family and foulmouthed friends, Kyle's mom (Mary Kay Bergman) decides to take drastic action, setting off an outrageous chain of events that comes to involve Saddam Hussein and his bedfellow--in _every_ sense of the word--Satan himself.

To run through many more of those burned along Parker and Stone's gleefully politically incorrect way would not only be pointless and boring, but it also would spoil too many of the film's stinging jokes. But one target worth mentioning is the reigning king of animated features, Disney. _Bigger,_Longer_&_Uncut_ is just as much a satire of the Mouse's sacred animated musical Formula as it is _South_Park_ itself. Stan's opening number is an affectionate, if very tongue-in-cheek, send-up of _Beauty_and_the_Beast_'s classic curtain-raiser "Belle"; there is even an earnest, heart-tugging "I Want" power ballad. Parker's uniquely absurdist twist on the latter is that the tune is soulfully crooned by Satan. There is more to Parker and Mark Shaiman's (who composed the instrumental score) songs than just witty context and bitingly hilarious lyrics; the melodies are genuinely infectious. Impossible though it may seen, a song bearing the says-it-all title "Uncle Fucka" is just as memorable for its toe-tapping tune as it is its proudly profane lyrics. (OK, maybe not _as_ memorable, but the catchy melody also lingers long in the mind.)

_South_Park:_Bigger,_Longer_&_Uncut_ will undoubtedly draw the ire of many a political group as being a sterling example of the "impure" state of popular entertainment today. Is the film inappropriate for children? YES; they don't come much more adults-only than this one. Is it offensive? Indeed it is. But peel away the profuse profanity and go-for-broke comic abandon, and the film ironically reveals a message as wholesome and constructive as any G-rated film could offer: take responsibilty for your children, in what they do and in especially what they watch--certain films are designated as being for adults for a reason. The even greater irony is that a lot of parents looking for a film "for the family" are certain to pay less attention to _Bigger,_Longer_&_Uncut_'s R rating than to the fact that it is "a cartoon."

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