Shoestring Wonder

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By Erin Tobin

By Erin Tobin

“Team America: World Police” is everything anyone could possibly expect a film from the makers of “South Park” to be.

It is morbid, vulgar and has a complete lack of anything that could resemble political correctness and that’s why it has become a hit.

The slight surprise the movie presents is that it is actually a mindless marionette musical with a handful of clever songs. This soundtrack is going to fly off the shelves whenever it is released.

The movie will divide the population into three groups: people that will see the movie and talk about, or people who will refuse to see the movie and people who saw the movie, chuckled to themselves a few times and will never tell anyone about it.

In a spoof of both “Thunderbirds” and action movies in general, “TeamAmerica: World Police” uses a team of super-spies to save the world from all that is evil, which includes terrorists and film actors. New to the team is Gary Johnston, a Broadway actor who speaks several different languages. It is up to him to save the entire world, while destroying famous landmarks along the way.

Johnston and several other puppet-played characters are voiced by directorTrey Parker. Matt Stone, also from “South Park,” picked up some of the slack and the rest was dispersed to several quality voice actors. Parker and Stone seem to have limited range though, as the characters in “Team America: World Police” sound vaguely like those unforgettable children from “South Park.”

The fact that marionettes are used is not something the film makers expect the audience to take seriously. In fact, they don’t take it seriously themselves. From the start of the opening credits to the end of the movieParker and Stone repeatedly remind the audience of how funny puppets are.The list of things it seems very difficult for these “actors” to achieve includes martial arts, dancing and walking in general.

One thing that doesn’t seem too difficult for the puppets to accomplish is the actions required for the extremely physical bedroom scene that got the movie a deserved “R” rating. This movie isn’t geared toward preteens, but they are going to want see it.

The puppets do some other things well. Their facial expressions are amazing and life-like. If Pinocchio was this close to real he would have been satisfied with life.

The detail work for this pint-sized version of the world is exquisite. It offers a refreshing escape from the profanity filled dialogue. The creators obviously spent as much time putting together a realistic backdrop as they did trying to make sure one word in every sentence uttered would need to be blipped or changed when the movie would ever be run on television.

Some credit needs to be given. Parker and Stone have created a smart movie on many levels. It is just hidden under layers of potty humor where it is missed by those in the audience who are there just for the gross factor.

It is clear the plan was to poke fun at as many big movie stars as possible, especially action movie stars or ones who think very highly of themselves. What is not clear is the message that should be derived from the experience that “Team America: World Police” provides. There isn’t anything that would completely qualify as plot holes, but the story line sometimes gets so outlandish that things get slow and confusing.

“Team America: World Police” is a great movie if the a u d i e n c e doesn’t take the film too seriously, get disturbed easily or hold itself in too high of esteem. This is a dirty and obscene movie, but it’s the ride people expected.

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