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Team America: World Police (2004)

May 26, 2010

VERDICT:
9/10 Freedom Fries

You will never look at Thunderbirds the same way again.

Team America: World Police is about a Broadway actor who’s recruited to act as a spy for an elite anti-terrorism task force that bleeds red, white and blue so that they can infiltrate and eliminate any and all threats to everyone everywhere regardless of collateral damage. On the other end of the spectrum is tyrannical North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il who’s heading up a global regime of terror while recruiting politically active members of the Film Actors Guild (mind the initials) to help take over the world and take down Team America in the process.

It’s pretty much a big ol’ tongue-in-cheek middle finger to all the uber-Americana machismo that dominated everything over here after 9/11, the G. W. Bush administration and their penchant to kick ass on a global level even if it didn’t really involve the U.S. of A. to begin with, and a ton of other things that all kind of culminated with that “Boot in Your Ass” ditty by Toby Keith. It’s also the brainchild of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, so there’s also a fair amount of F-bombs and dick jokes to send it all home.

Now, I’m a fan of Parker and Stone. Call them whatever you like, but those guys have some huge balls and are not afraid to speak their mind on whatever idiocy is hitting the front pages no matter how sacred or taboo. But this isn’t about 9/11, they’re not stupid enough to make fun of that, instead it’s the unlikely swan song of everything after the tragedy that started with Will Ferrell in a patriotic diaper and ended with this bunch of foul-mouth, horny, and ultra-violent puppets.

And it’s this strange mix of the surprisingly smart and the wildly immature that makes it all work so well while delivering non-stop laughs, despite how cringe-inducing it can occasionally be.

There’s not much to say about the acting or directing here, but for a script that manages to successfully create a compelling argument regarding the Democratic and Republican outlooks towards American involvement in a questionable war via a speech about the necessity of assholes, dicks and pussies is something to be appreciated. And while a lot of it is just funny writing, the movie’s at its best when it is absolutely ruthless, and let me tell ya, it is fucking ruthless.

Parker and Trey freakin’ harpoon any and all actors who ever threw their fame around to speak their mind on the war like you wouldn’t believe, no one is safe, even poor Matt Damon, and they have a downright field day with all the post-9/11 fear-mongering that went down with choice lines like:

It would be 9/11 times 100.
9/11 times a hundred? Jesus, that’s…
Yes, 91,100.
Basically all the worst parts of the Bible.

And if that weren’t enough, it’s all set to songs like “America, Fuck Yeah”, “Derka Derk (The Terrorist Theme)” and “Freedom Isn’t Free” (it apparently costs a buck-o-five) to make sure we all got the message incase we’re still laughing it up to “Everyone Has Aids” or “Montage” (which explains how montages work while being played over a montage itself).

But I love movies like this that take something old and manage to make it feel brand spankin’ new. Screw Pixar, screw human beings, screw colored pencils and screw clay, the marionette thing was a freakin’ stroke of brilliance on Parker and Stone’s behalf. Not only is it impressive as hell and must have been painstaking in its own way to make an action movie involving puppets, but it creates a whole new slew of priceless jokes and gags that you can’t get using other mediums.

Sex scenes are now hilarious, so is walking down a hallway, so is hand-to-hand combat, and let’s not forget about those brutal executions, those are now certified knee-slappers. Just like with South Park, I think people would be a lot more upset by what goes down in this movie if it were acted out by real people, but since it’s puppets, Parker and Stone can get away with murder. I could see some Tea Partiers roasting this baby over a freedom-fueled open bonfire, but let’s not kid ourselves, y’all, we are dealing with effing dolls here.

Also love all the little details thrown into the mix like having an actual human painted in silver play a towering statue of Kim Jong-il, or how all the streets in France are cement carvings of croissants, and then there’s the “panthers” that show up at the end. Awesome stuff.

Team America is gross, profane, rude, juvenile, and as politically incorrect as they come, but it’s also insanely funny, completely original, seriously gutsy and one of the best damn satires out there. Not sure that this exactly everyone’s cup of tea, but if you can take a joke and aren’t reading this in your American flag boxer-briefs, then go ahead, give it a shot, you’ve earned yourself a good laugh, bucko. And like I said, it’s puppets, I think we can afford lighten up when it comes to puppets.

Still not a fan of BASEketball though.

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2010 4:30 am

    Dan straight, this is Matt and Trey doing what they do best: lampooning. Celebrities, Politics, Terrorism and Puppets. It’s the level of intricacy of the sets and puppets that I loved the most, and the start when you think it’s all going to look like the first shot… gets me every time!

    Awesome film, just pure awesome.

    I’ll rip your fucking balls off and stick them up your ass… so next time you shit, you’ll be shittin all over your balls.

    “Gary. I’m not from Hollywood, I’m not going to fuck your mouth, and my time is EXTREMELY valuable!” “Now suck my cock”

    You going to give BASEketball another shot bro?

    • May 26, 2010 7:21 am

      Yeah, one of these days.

      Love that story about how the guy was raped by Mr. Mistoffelees.

  2. Ryan permalink
    May 26, 2010 9:31 am

    a 9 is pretty generous for this movie. Maybe a 7 at best. Team America is no where near as funny as BASEketball, or any South Park episode. A good effort my Matt and Trey, but I hope they stay away from the puppets in the future

    • May 27, 2010 3:47 am

      Have you seen any of the past few seasons. Can’t believe how low the standard’s gone, maybe about 2 laughs an episode. Definitely flogging an dead horse.

  3. May 26, 2010 12:39 pm

    i love the way all the little gold things in the market stands are mini idols from Raiders of the Lost Ark
    its the little things that count
    the vomiting scene i think is the only time ive laughed until i cried in a cinema
    Baseketball is crap, but i still love it

    • May 26, 2010 12:41 pm

      haha, the way his barfing gets flat-out explosive at the end was freakin ‘great. didn’t notice the golden idols, but that is awesome.

  4. May 26, 2010 1:41 pm

    Without a doubt, Team America World Police is one of my favourite comedies from the last few years. The puppets are pure gold. There are a million hilarious lines and the songs all kill me. Particularly the Michael Bay-Pearl Harbour sucked song and I loved how they slowed down the “America…Fuck ya!” theme song for the sad part of the film. Oh hell, let’s just say there isn’t anything I didn’t freaking love about this film!

    I am a big fan of South Park too, sure it’s juvenile and crude but its also crafty and brilliant. One of the wittiest episodes I ever seen on SP was when the kids had to vote for a school president and they had to choose between a bag of shit and a douchebag. And when one of the characters refuses to choose they are sent out of town on the back of a horse. The lesson being, you’ll always have to vote for a douchebag or a bag of shit, so deal with it. Great stuff!

    • May 26, 2010 2:00 pm

      Hahaha, I love that episode, and it was actually a turd sandwich! I was howling at that freaking electoral debate between the giant douche and the turd sandwich where they just go:

      “You’re a turd sandwich.”
      “No, you’re a turd sandwich.”
      “No, you’re a turd sandwich!”

      Too freakin’ good. Parker and Stone, those guys are some funny mother effers and I’m glad you agree.

    • May 26, 2010 2:01 pm

      Oh, and did you ever catch the episode about how John Edwards (the fake psychic, not the two-timing governor) was competing in the Biggest Douche in the Universe Competition? Classic.

      • May 26, 2010 4:56 pm

        Yes of course! A turd sandwich!! A bag of shit worked alright, but it didn’t seem quite right somehow! I have not seen this Edwards episode you speak of…but I want to watch it right freaking NOW! But sadly I’m working (working pretty damn hard too as you can see) will have to wait ’til home time!

      • May 27, 2010 11:26 am

        Yeah, I haven’t seen SP in a while either, that John Edwards episode came out around the same time. Really good stuff. I’m sure it’s on YouTube or something.

      • Miro permalink
        May 31, 2010 1:18 am

        Don’t you guys watch it from their site http://www.southparkstudios.com/ ?

      • May 31, 2010 3:52 pm

        Not sure, maybe you can, I just borrowed it the old fashioned way.

  5. May 26, 2010 2:17 pm

    One of the best sex scenes ever put on film! Love your site, Aiden. Bookmarked it after seeing you on Anamolous. Great write-up here. I tried very hard to include this on my Top 25 Comedy List…I know it would surely be on yours after reading this. I liked it a lot, but for some reason, it lost something for me in its 2nd viewing. But I still love all of the lampooning of Hollywood action stars and their political celebrities….Trey and Matt do that brilliantly.

    • May 26, 2010 2:32 pm

      Hahaha, thanks, man. Hope that appreciation returns on your eventual and very necessary third viewing, but hey, we’ll always have the sex scene.

  6. May 26, 2010 2:18 pm

    BTW, I am adding you to my blogroll on Magic Lantern too!

  7. May 26, 2010 5:21 pm

    I am a huge fan of Parker and Stone but never got into this movie. I watched about the first 20 minutes or so and turned it off because I thought it was so damn stupid. Maybe I’ll give it another go, but I do love South Park, The South Park Movie, and BASEketball (I actually found it funny). Maybe I’ll give it another go. Great review.

    • May 27, 2010 11:26 am

      Man, I love the South Park movie, I need to watch that again. Freakin’ hilarious every time, funny how F-bombs can take something.

  8. Max permalink
    May 26, 2010 5:54 pm

    I love how this movie packs so many lampoons into such a small space/scene and then keeps the density throughout the entire film. For example, in just the first scene Team America effectively pokes fun at US foreign policy, action movies as a genre, “terrorism”, US xenocentrism, the US military, movie violence, Arabs and Arabic, the movie’s own use of marionettes, and the French all within the confines of a 4 minute Mattel commercial.

    I loved Team America and was constantly laughing throughout the entire movie. Good call with the 9/10, Aiden. Team America … F*** Yeah!

  9. May 26, 2010 7:45 pm

    Everything Parker and Stone touch is golden. This season of South Park has been especially funny.

  10. May 27, 2010 8:05 am

    The soundtrack for Team America is one of my favorites! A very funny film. I only wished that Matt and Trey get back on the saddle in terms of making more films.

    • May 27, 2010 11:24 am

      Agreed. Apparently South Park takes up a lot of time. You ever see Kenny vs. Spenney, the show they produced a while back? Some of the funniest shit I’ve seen in years.

  11. Marc permalink
    May 27, 2010 10:44 am

    How many words can you us to describe this brilliant movie in a concise manner? I’ll throw my hat into that ring:

    1 word – HYSTERICAL
    2 words – MATT DAMON
    3 words – AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!
    4 words – Oh No, Hanz Brix!

  12. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    May 27, 2010 11:11 am

    It’s impossible for me to talk about this movie without said conversation dissolving into me quoting various parts of the movie I think are wet-my-pants funny and the person I’m talking to — who saw the movie and thought it was “offensive” — giving me That Look.

    Best parts:
    –KO’ing the Eiffel Tower
    –All the terrorists say is “durka, durka, durka”
    –The “AIDS” musical
    –Kim Jong Il is “so wonery”
    –“Freedom ain’t free / It costs a buck-o-five”
    –The repeated Matt Damon gig (though methinks Damon, now an action star, got the last laugh)

    “Team America” is such a ballsy comedic free-for-all that people might mistake it for totally stupid. It is stupid, but in a smart, sneaky, sly way.

    • May 27, 2010 11:36 am

      And how about the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.? Freakin’ hilarious.

  13. May 27, 2010 11:41 am

    “Montage” really stuck with us. Now whenever we’re watching a movie and a montage starts, we break into song… “we need a montage!”

    • May 27, 2010 11:47 am

      “Even Rocky had montaaaaaage! MONTAAAAAGE!

      So awesome.

  14. Branden permalink
    May 28, 2010 3:12 pm

    What’s Thunderbirds?

    • May 28, 2010 3:21 pm

      Kids TV show from way back in the day about a group of marionette crimefighters, or something like that.

      • Branden permalink
        May 28, 2010 3:36 pm

        Oh, okay. That was an obscure reference to me.

  15. June 26, 2010 12:49 am

    Funny stuff, I can’t lie. Check out my review here: http://dtmmr.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/team-america-world-police-2004/ Nice Review brah!

Trackbacks

  1. Movie News: Weekly Round-Up 05/26/2010 • ANOMALOUS MATERIAL
  2. Mini-Review: Team America: World Police (2004) « Silver Emulsion
  3. Mini-Review: Team America: World Police (2004) « Silver Emulsion

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