Puppet Politics

    n their new multimillion-dollar puppet show, Matt Stone and Trey Parker avoid focusing on the over satirized political arena, instead making fun of as many things as they can in a two-hour time frame. As you would expect from the creators of “South Park,” “Team America: World Police” is vulgar, violent and full of sex, all done entirely with puppets. Surprisingly, the puppets are quite impressive, as are the many beautiful sets that were created only to be destroyed during the course of the movie. More surprising is that puppet violence never really gets old.

    Team America is an elite squad of patriotic soldiers willing to obliterate anything that stands in the way of freedom. After discovering that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been selling weapons of mass destruction to the highest bidder in hopes of ruling the world, the team decides that they need an actor that will be able to work his way into the most secure locations. They hire a Broadway star named Gary. The rest of the plot is very thin, which doesn’t really matter because this film is all about Parker and Stone putting the puppets in the craziest situations imaginable, including a graphic puppet sex scene, excessive vomiting, Kim Jong Il singing a Broadway style ballad of loneliness and a speech President George W. Bush should consider using before the election.

    Both Parker and Stone are professed Libertarians, but they seem to hide their political views in this movie. They do, however, have definite opinions about show business. With its excessive explosions, cheesy dialogue and sometimes absent plot line, “Team America” mocks the action/disaster genre perfectly. It also finds time to make fun of the self-absorbed political activist actors that we see so much of today. Many celebrities are featured in puppet form, as the Film Actors Guild (you can come up with the acronym on your own), which led by Alec Baldwin, tries to stop the violence of Team America. The creators’ efforts seem to be working, as Sean Penn is already speaking out against the movie. If you are tired of the parade of Hollywood leftists that only seems to increase with time, this movie is perfect for you.

    The style of the film will look familiar to many as it is inspired by the classic ’60s English television show “Thunderbirds,” which most people have stumbled across at some point. This film uses very few special effects, which is an amazing achievement. There is always something happening, and most of the time it’s crude. If “South Park” offends you, this movie will most certainly do the same. While Parker and Stone frequently play on the film’s limitations (they purposely choose not to erase the strings), most scenes are played out to their full puppet potential. The second half drags on a bit, but for the most part “Team America” will entertain audiences, especially “South Park” freaks. This film is not for everyone, but if you go in expecting an experiment in indecency by two minds that have been stretching boundaries for a while, you will laugh through the whole thing.

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