Team America falls victim to [expletive] [expletive]

Oct. 19, 2004, midnight | By Kiran Bhat | 19 years, 6 months ago

The only words that can describe Team America: World Police are too offensive to be printed. Never has a movie with such an ingenious satirical element been so ruined by extreme vulgarity.

In some sense, the indecency can be expected. After all, the movie stars, and was produced and directed by, South Park co-creator Trey Parker. But, even armed with this knowledge walking into the theater, the viewer cannot help but be blown away by the hellish vernacular displayed by the main characters. And even more unfortunate, the characters are the exact type of marionette puppets that the local library showcases every Saturday afternoon to entertain toddlers. What is the world coming to?

Anyways, vulgarity aside, the plot is quite entertaining. Team America, a bunch of lean, mean, machine-gun-toting machines, is out to save the world from evil terrorists who can only say the words "Mohammed" and "Jihad," along with the occasional "Daka Daka Laka." But, in reality, the evildoer behind the scenes is narcissist numero uno Kim Jong Il, who plans to distribute his WMD to the world's terrorists in order to make people like him (how does that make sense?).

The oafish behavior of the group of vigilantes is Parker's way of taking a shot at the Bush Administration's purportedly arrogant foreign policy. In the film's opening scene, Team America pursues Islamic terrorists as they try to detonate a WMD in Paris, but they destroy the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre in the process. Afterwards, Nebraskan All-American Joe (voiced by, you guessed it, Trey Parker), Team America's captain, declares the mission accomplished after the terrorists are killed.

Later on, Parker takes aim on the left, particularly at liberal firebrand Michael Moore and the Hollywood actors who make up the Screen Actors Guild (changed to Film Actors Guild in the movie). The master satirist displays actors like Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn hilariously hailing Saddam's Iraq as Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, where children play and frolic in rivers of chocolate. Eventually, Team America battles Il (and the Film Actors Guild) in a final showdown, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

But even with the brilliantly sardonic plot, the amount of crudeness is just a turn off. Every time the Team blasts off from their Mount Rushmore headquarters, a Toby Keith-type singer croons, "America! [Expletive] Yeah! Here to save, the mother [expletive] day!" Multiple references to gay oral sex and even a graphic puppet sex scene cross the line in terms of necessity.

And the cheesy love square between four Team Americans, Joe, Gary (also Parker), Lisa (Kristen Miller, She Spies) and Sarah (someone named Masasa) is dominated by smut. There is absolutely no need to sacrifice valuable satire time for hot, sweaty puppet intercourse.

Team America does manage a rare feat; it draws blood from members of all sides of the political spectrum, pokes fun at respected international governing bodies and caricatures pretty much every race on earth. But the crude "humor" is not even close to being humorous; indeed, it detracts from the central plot device that made this film seem so appealing in previews.

Satirically, this movie is quite possibly the best film of the year. But that satire, quite unfortunately, takes a back seat to all the trashiness. In most cases, the audience needs to really pay attention in order to catch the wit in the midst of incessant cursing. All the vulgarity really defeats the whole purpose of what would have otherwise been a clear, blunt and searing political satire for the ages.

Team America: World Police is rated R for crude language, sexual scenes and gratuitous violence

Kiran Bhat. Kiran Bhat is a senior who loves the Washington Redskins, 24, Coldplay, Kanye West, Damien Rice, Outkast and Common (Sense). He aspires to be the next Sanjay Gupta. He will miraculously grow a Guptaesque telegenic face and sculpted body by the age of 30. In … More »

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