Eye For Film >> Movies >> Team America: World Police (2004) Film Review
Team America: World Police
Reviewed by: Stephen Carty
Having secured themselves cult admiration with their much-loved controversy-magnet of a show, South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are ready to unleash their latest creation. With both writing (as well as Pam Brady) and Parker doing the directing, Team America: World Police uses Thunderbird-style puppetry instead of animation and sparked much pre-release debate with its political content and early reports about a sex scene (yes, puppets having sex).
The plot concerns ‘Team America’ – a worldwide police team based in the US – who, after a successful mission ends with one of their team being killed, look to recruit a new member. Believing that an actor will be the best choice as they will have more chance of successfully infiltrating a terrorist network, leader Spottswoode (Daran Norris) handpicks popular Broadway star Gary Johnston (Parker) and inducts him into the team. Though both female members Sarah (Masasa Moyo) and Lisa (Kristen Miller) are immediately attracted to him, martial arts expert Chris (Matt Stone) is openly harsh and ex-athlete Joe (Parker) reserves judgement. Before any of this can be resolved, Team America are called into action when dictator Kim Jong II (Parker) plans a sinister scheme involving the Film Actors Guild.
So, as someone who never saw the appeal of South Park, would this movie change my mind? To borrow and modify a phrase from the movie, “America…F**k no”. Broad, in-your-face, loud and with absolutely no subtlety, Team America: World Police has little to no intelligence and is comedy of the lower-than-the-lowest-low possible common denominator. While crude humour can work, here the ‘laughs’ are infantile at best and it often seems like a couple of seven year-olds have decided to make a major motion picture. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t see how a repetitive song called Everyone Has AIDS is funny?
Despite the fact that I would usually applaud any movie that seeks to send up soulless action flicks, here the satire just doesn’t work and I found myself struggling to think of something positive to say. While the Times Square set was very impressive (as you can see, I’m still struggling), the uniqueness of using puppets with un-hidden strings wears off after ten minutes and the script seems obsessed with being offensive purely for the sake of being offensive. From start to finish, you could honesty count the amount of times that I laughed on one hand (Helen Hunt and Matt Damon got smirks). And when I say hand, I mean two fingers.
As you would expect from Parker and Stone, there is also a substantial amount of material concerning American politics. Though on paper the idea to deal with the “emotion of being hated as an American” sound interesting, the mix of blatant jingoism and America mocking didn’t entertain me at all and I found myself wondering why so many people I know raved about this movie. In a day and age where genius shows like Peep Show struggle to get viewers, it saddens me that Team America: World Police got some of the best word-of-mouth I have ever head. I guess the majority of modern viewers find subtle and intelligent comedy less amusing than a puppet puking.
Ultimately, I found Team America: World Police to be coarse, obvious and largely pointless. While I’m sure that a great many cinema fans out there will find it hilarious, this is as far from my idea of funny as possible and it didn’t change my opinion of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone at all. However, even though my opinions sit in the minority, I still don’t feel ronery.Reviewed on: 03 Nov 2008