Team America (2004)
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Review Date: October 19, 2004
Director: Trey Parker
Writer: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady
Producers: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady
Trey Parker as Gary/various
Matt Stone as Chris
Kristen Miller as Lisa
A puppet movie based on the idea of an American team of do-gooders called TEAM AMERICA policing the world in order to stop all terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction and terrorizing everyone. The team conduct their duties without much regard for others around them, but kick ass and get into a variety of soap opera-based dramatics within the group. A scene featuring two puppets having sex...ensues.
This movie gave me everything that I expected and...well, not much more, but pretty much everything I was hoping for in the first place and considering that those expectations were extremely high, that's pretty damn good! Before I get into my general views on this movie, allow me to toss out some very basic props to the filmmakers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, for having the creativity, the balls and the humor to pull off something this original in this day-and-age of cookie-cutter bullshit, let's-not-take-any-chances-on-anything Hollywood. Some big-ass applause goes out to the guys for simply creating this aberration among the weekly slot-fillers (same goes to the Conran brothers and the brilliance that is SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW). But other than the film's very basic idea of creating a story based entirely in the world of marionettes, acting in our "real world", at the end of the day, the movie had to make you laugh (it's a comedy, after all) and much like the boys did in their previous cinematic masterpiece that was SOUTH PARK: THE MOVIE, this one was packed with a number of huge laughs, many of which will have you talking about them even as you shuffle out of the theater. The puking scene, the marionette sex scene, the thespians getting killed scene (Sarandon's death is priceless), the dick/pussy/asshole scene, the oral sex scene, the many funny songs throughout...just a few of my favorites.

It's also packed with a ton of funny one-liners many of which invent new words such as "cock-fags" and make enough fun of real-life actors including Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Janeane Garofalo (loved the cheesy shirt on Hawke) and many others (yup, even Michael Moore-the boys had a "falling out" with the man after he made it appear as though they had created an animated clip in his documentary BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, when, in fact, they hadn't-wow, I actually thought they had!), to slap any of those good folks down a peg, were they to take themselves a little too seriously-particularly when spouting their unsolicited political views upon the American public. The way in which many of them are eventually disposed of, is particularly gruesome and hilarious. Yes, things do get pretty bloody in this R-rated affair as well. And from my previous comments you can surely tell that it also doesn't hold back on its language with F-bombs dropped around like a Colin Farrell interview, homosexual references running rampant (the Screen Actors Guild is called F.A.G. here: Film Actors Guild) and an especially humorous sexual puppet sequence which apparently was cut from 2 minutes to about 40 seconds (in order to get the film down to an R-rating from an NC-17).

Just like in SOUTH PARK, the film also includes a number of musical injections, played to nasty lyrics, such as the very funny "Freedom isn't Free" (it's worth a buck-o-five?), "Everybody has AIDS", "Pearl Harbor sucked", a song that's about how much one character misses another, "I'm so ronery", about a short dictator's issue with loneliness and of course, the film's anthem, entitled simply: "America (Fuck Yeah!)". While not as memorable as the classic "Unclefucker", it does stir up something inside you, as does the film's generally well-balanced political view-points, none of which are rammed down your throat (unlike other parts of the marionettes), but all of which are skewered, make to look hypocritical, goofed over and ultimately, just plain made fun of. If anyone goes into this movie expecting any sort of serious message about voting or America versus the world today, get your fuckin' head examined (yeah, Penn...I'm talking to you) and I mean...like, right now! Its final 20 minutes are especially inspired. This is an extremely funny movie packed with potshots at everyone and everything, with in-jokes, homages and pokes here and there, tons of very out-of-line humor and exaggerated characters and surprisingly, superb production value and well-made puppets. It essentially tattooed a smile on my face from its first frame in a stereotypical Parisian street to its final credit remix of the many funny tunes played throughout. See it if you love original stuff mixed in with crude, stupid and yes...very intelligent humor! I can't wait to get the DVD...I expect it to take the movie to that even higher level. "Matt Damon." Funny stuff.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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