Directed by: Trey Parker
Premise: A cast of marionettes portray a United States anti-terrorism team trying to stop an attack involving weapons of mass destruction.
What Works: Like South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, this film takes plenty of shots at current events. Team America spoofs celebrity activism and includes puppets of Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, and Michael Moore. These come off as very irreverent but not mean. The film takes lots of obvious stabs at the sacred cows of the political left, such as multiculturalism and pacifism. However, it has a subtext that is a criticism of the political right, making its overall criticism of American culture very balanced. Also, the film brings puppetry to a new level. It is unlikely that we will see a flood of puppet films as a result, but the level of expressiveness achieved in Team America‘s puppets is amazing.
What Doesn’t: While the film is politically poignant, it is not as funny as some of Parker and Stone’s other work. This is a funny film but it feels as though the attempt to satirize current events sometimes overtakes filmmaker’s humor.
Bottom Line: Team America is a movie for those who are fans of South Park or political satire. Audiences who cannot stomach Parker and Stone’s other work probably will not like this very much. It has more than its share of toilet humor, but between the raunchy gags there is a brilliant mind at work, and Team America stands as one of the most intelligent comedies released recently.
Episode: #23 (October 17, 2004)