Ebert hated Team America

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Dan, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    But, he was never a good judge of comedy. He gave some of my favorite comedies (South Park, Wet Hot American Summer, among others) 2 stars or less. I can't help but think that Trey and Matt are just laughing their butts off at how people are getting upset over the lack of a message in a freaking PUPPET MOVIE!

    All the critics and people whose opinions really trust on the Net are saying it's hilarious, so we'll see...

    Team America: World Police


    Roger Ebert / October 15, 2004

    Cast & CreditsFeaturing the voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller and Daran Norris

    Paramount Pictures presents a film directed by Trey Parker. Written by Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady. Running time: 98 minutes. Rated R (for graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language, all involving puppets).


    "What are you rebelling against, Johnny?"

    "Whaddya got?"

    --Marlon Brando in "The Wild One"

    If this dialogue is not inscribed over the doors of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it should be. Their "Team America: World Police" is an equal opportunity offender, and waves of unease will flow over first one segment of their audience, and then another. Like a cocky teenager who's had a couple of drinks before the party, they don't have a plan for who they want to offend, only an intention to be as offensive as possible.

    Their strategy extends even to their decision to use puppets for all of their characters, a choice that will not be univerally applauded. Their characters, one-third lifesize, are clearly artificial, and yet there's something going on around the mouths and lips that looks halfway real, as if they were inhabited by the big faces with moving mouths from the Conan O'Brien show. There are times when the characters risk falling into the Uncanny Valley, that rift used by robot designers to describe robots that alarm us by looking too humanoid.

    The plot seems like a collision at the screenplay factory between several half-baked world-in-crisis movies. Team America, a group not unlike the Thunderbirds, bases its rockets, jets and helicopters inside Mount Rushmore, which is hollow, and race off to battle terrorism wherever it is suspected. In the opening sequence, they swoop down on Paris and fire on caricatures of Middle East desperadoes, missing most of them but managing to destroy the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre.

    Regrouping, the team's leader, Spottswoode (voice by Daran Norris) recruits a Broadway actor named Gary to go undercover for them. When first seen, Gary (voice by Parker) is starring in the musical "Lease," and singing "Everyone has AIDS." Ho, ho. Spottswoode tells Gary: "You're an actor with a double major in theater and world languages! Hell, you're the perfect weapon!" There's a big laugh when Gary is told that, if captured, he may want to kill himself and is supplied with a suicide device I will not reveal.

    Spottswoode's plan: Terrorists are known to be planning to meet at "a bar in Cairo." The Team America helicopter will land in Cairo, and four uniformed team members will escort Gary, his face crudely altered to look "Middle Eastern," to the bar, where he will go inside and ask whazzup. As a satire on our inability to infiltrate other cultures, this will do, I suppose. It leads to an ill-advised adventure where in the name of fighting terrorism, Team America destroys the Pyramids and the Sphinx. But it turns out the real threat comes from North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Il (voice also by Parker), who plans to unleash "9/11 times 2,356." No. 1 on his list: Blowing up the Panama Canal.

    Opposing Team America is the Film Actors' Guild, or F.A.G., ho, ho,
    with puppets representing Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn (who has written an angry letter to Parker and Stone about their comments, in Rolling Stone, that there is “no shame” in not voting). No real point is made about the actors' activism; they exist in the movie essentially to be ridiculed for existing at all, I guess. Hans Blix, the U.N. chief weapons inspector, also turns up, and has a fruitless encounter with the North Korean dictator. Some of the scenes are set to music, including such tunes as "Pearl Harbor Sucked and I Miss You" and "America -- F***, Yeah!"

    If I were asked to extract a political position from the movie, I'd be baffled. It is neither for nor against the war on terrorism, just dedicated to ridiculing those who wage it and those who oppose it. The White House gets a free pass, since the movie seems to think Team America makes its own policies without political direction.

    I wasn't offended by the movie's content so much as by its nihilism. At a time when the world is in crisis and the country faces an important election, the response of Parker, Stone and company is to sneer at both sides -- indeed, at anyone who takes the current world situation seriously. They may be right that some of us are puppets, but they're wrong that all of us are fools, and dead wrong that it doesn't matter.
     
  2. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    This sounds awesome!
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I agree----my son wants to see it so I think we'll hit it today---I need a good laugh after all the political BS thats floatin around!
     
  4. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    I've seen it. It gross, offensive and funny as hell! Go see it.
     
  5. Jimmyeatworld
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    Jimmyeatworld Silver Member

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    Cool. I'm going to see it this evening. It starts in a couple of hours. It's good to know that there are a couple of guys out there that can leave political correctness and heartfelt messages behind occasionally and just let something be funny. Most of Hollywood can take a cue from Matt and Trey and try not to take themselves so seriously.
     
  6. Joz
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    Joz Senior Member

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    My son & his wife saw this last night. Said it was NOT politically correct. The teenagers in the audience didn't seem to understand alot of the humorous dialogue. Said it was worth seeing.
     
  7. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    I want to see Team America, gotta love the Lil Kim puppet. I want one!
     
  8. dumphauler
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    dumphauler Member

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    I'm Lonely , so Lonely- Movie had some verry funny part's I love southpark but thought the movie was alittle to crude for it's own good.
     
  9. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    IT was supposed to be NC-17. they had to dumb it down. The South Park Movie was originally NC-17. That turned out pretty freakin hillarious.
     
  10. Jimmyeatworld
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    Jimmyeatworld Silver Member

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    This movie is f*cking funny. That's all I can say. It's a movie you want everyone to see and you want everyone to understand, but you know that will never happen. They are equal opprotunity offenders, and bless them for it. If you like South Park, you'll like this. If you like any kind of satire and are willing to check your bias at the door, you'll like it. If you have no sense of humor and are more interesting in spouting out idealogly than enjoying a good movie, go see "Shall We Dance".

    For those that have seen it: "America! F*ck ya! You can lick my a$$ and suck on my balls!"
     

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