TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE
Director: Trey Parker
Cast: The voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa, Daran Norris
MPAA Rating: (for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language - all involving puppets)
Running Time: 1:47
Release Date: 10/15/04
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Review by Mark Dujsik
The creators of "
Team America is an international police force on the prowl for terrorists, and they'll stop at nothing to get the job done. After successfully stopping a group of terrorists in Paris and losing one of their own to said terrorists, the team is in need of a new member. Given the discreet nature of some of their work (the parts not involving blowing up the Eiffel Tower and causing it to collapse into the Arc de Triomphe), Team America's leader Spottswoode (voice of Daran Norris) has decided to attempt to recruit a popular Broadway actor named Gary Johnston (voice of Parker). Gary would use his acting abilities to infiltrate sensitive terrorists meetings and discover what nefarious plans they have in motion. Meanwhile, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il (voice of Parker) is hatching his own dastardly plan involving terrorists around the world and the Film Actors Guild (you decipher the acronym), who are disgusted with the way Team America is imposing itself on the world.
Have I mentioned this is all done with
marionettes? Yes, those are puppets
blowing up the Louvre and the Sphinx. Yes,
those are puppets swearing with the gusto of Dick Cheney. Yes, those are puppets engaging in a sex scene that would make Bernardo
Bertolucci blush (I exaggerate; he'd probably only raise an eyebrow). And it of course leads to one of the funniest MPAA reasonings for the R
rating: "for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong
language – all involving puppets." Does
the fact that it all involves puppets make it more or less deserving of the
rating? Anyway, it all does lead to
a consistently on-target mocking of the modern action movie. From the testosterone-laden explosions and chases and gunfights to
ridiculously cheesy scenes of romance and team bonding, the movie satirizes the
blow-'em-to-hell xenophobia and the almost-too-masculine machismo we've come to
expect (with a score by Harry Gregson-Williams to boot). Take a scene where the team is approaching Kim Jong Il's palace, only to
be attacked by his henchmen by air and sea. Of course, such a fight isn't going to get in the way of the team
bringing in personal feelings about each other in between explosions. Absurd?
Yes. Familiar? Most definitely.
Parker and Stone are also prone to point out
hypocrisy and more underhanded forms of manipulation throughout society. Gary is introduced as he stars in Lease,
the Parker/Stone version of the musical Rent,
in which the finale is a song called "Everyone Has AIDS," and everyone
in the audience alternately sobs and dances to the beat. As for other musical numbers, Jong Il sings "I'm So Ronery" (yes, they did go there) and Team
America's theme song is catchy, jingoistic, and crass. And you have to love a song about someone missing their love "like Michael
Bay missed the mark in
Copyright © 2004 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.