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16 reviews, 205 user ratings

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Team America: World Police
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by Robert Flaxman

"Don't court controversy if you don't know what to do with it."
3 stars

The germination for Team America: World Police evidently came after Trey Parker and Matt Stone saw an episode of "Thunderbirds" and decided that an action movie using puppets would be a great way to spoof action movies like those of Jerry Bruckheimer. It's not a bad idea, and if that's the only way Parker and Stone had gone, the film might have been outstanding. Instead, the pair decided to throw in their politics - such as they are - and moved the whole affair down several notches.

Let's get it out of the way: for most of its running time, Team America is funny. Sometimes it's incredibly funny. Parker and Stone's action movie spoof, surprisingly, never runs out of gas - the clichéd dialogue wears a bit thin after a while, but they make up for that with other things, such as a meta-referential song about montages playing over the stereotypical training montage, or various references to the fact that these are puppets and not full-size people (perhaps the film's funniest moment comes when the "panthers" are called in to menace our heroes).

Still, it's not all great. Parker and Stone have always been big believers in swearing as a large part of humor. I'm not saying they're entirely wrong, but they routinely go overboard, and the same happens here. It's as if, tired of working under the constraints of basic cable, they try to fill their films with as many taboo words as they possibly can. The South Park movie was much worse on this count, but Team America turns on a speech you couldn't get on basic cable, and frequently features pointless profanity that seems to exist just because Parker and Stone think bad words are hilarious. Their attraction to scatological stuff isn't much better. Is a prolonged puppet vomiting scene really that funny?

This is not to say that vulgar equals bad necessarily. The infamous puppet sex scene is pretty funny, even if it's just the same joke being told in increasingly graphic fashion, and the Team America theme song is funny because of its profanity rather than in spite of it. These are pretty much the only two places where the film would have been unlikely to benefit from being toned down a little, though - the overly juvenile is rarely that amusing.

What's really wrong with Team America, though, has nothing to do with its number of four-letter words. The problem is the message - or rather, the lack thereof. Parker and Stone might have been content with just doing their action movie parody, but somewhere along the line they decided that going more controversial was the way to really get noticed. So rather than simply have a fairly straight spoof, they made the main characters members of a team ominously called "World Police."

The film's title sounds ironically left-leaning, and the first half of the film or so finds the team destroying other countries (including France and Egypt) in the name of fighting terrorism. It all seems very liberal - global intervention isn't a good thing for the United States, as it only causes more problems than it solves. When it turns out that the real terrorists are still at large and destroying the Panama Canal, the team looks like a failure.

Parker and Stone then do a 180º. In the film's second half, the two spend their time making fun of liberal Hollywood for its political activism, suggesting that celebrities are stupid, uninformed, and basically should shut their traps as regards politics. In some respects it's just over-the-top satire, such as when the celebrities level guns at the team, telling them this is the only way to achieve peace, but it's also a very nasty attack, and one that just doesn't make sense.

Why do Parker and Stone switch from seeming liberal to seeming conservative? It's pretty clear that the answer lies in what they don't believe, and not what they do. The two have not definitively aligned themselves with any political party, and if Team America is any indication, they seem to subscribe to a sort of political nihilism. They don't care about believing in anything themselves; they just care about mocking what others believe.

What they don't get is that for a critique to be taken seriously, it needs to offer an alternative to the position with which it finds fault. Team America doesn't do this, or at least, it doesn't do this effectively. The suggestion to liberal Hollywood is to stay out of political affairs and let those in charge take care of it - but this comes just minutes after the suggestion that those in charge are messing up the world more than they're fixing it. The inconsistency makes it impossible for a true position to be formed from the ideological mishmash that Parker and Stone present.

It would be easy to excuse the lack of a real philosophy by saying that the film is just supposed to be a puppet action spoof, but Parker and Stone left themselves open for criticism when they went the road of controversy. It's not like they didn't know what they were doing; the film's teaser gave a long list of liberal actors and political figures who, it proclaimed, were "all going to be really, really mad" upon seeing the film. The political content was obvious from minute one. A film that includes political content without taking a side is just taking the easy way out - it gets to trade on the controversy while theoretically providing something for everyone.

The film is more likely to infuriate both sides than it is to appease them, however. Of course, Parker and Stone's real audience is composed mostly of teenagers who could probably care less about politics. This doesn't excuse the copout, but you can understand why they did it. There's no reason to espouse actual political beliefs if you can get your core audience to laugh by mocking people for being involved with politics, right?

Team America is, most of the time, a pretty funny film with some decent commentary on the action genre and a surprising amount of wit. However, it steps into the political arena and punches around blindly, not caring what targets it hits or whether it has anything to say itself, which it doesn't. Parker and Stone may court controversy, but they seem to have forgotten that real controversy derives from having an opinion, not just calling someone else's opinion stupid.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10976&reviewer=385
originally posted: 10/19/04 22:00:37
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/06/15 Charles Tatum Spot on spoof and satire 5 stars
1/17/15 Dane Youssef Parker and Stone bring to action blockbusters (and puppets) what they bring to South Park 4 stars
9/09/14 Geohorn Do you actually think the celebrities DO know what they're talking about? 4 stars
9/07/14 jolson it's terrible. which is why it is soooo funny 5 stars
10/11/13 Patrick Mildly offended... not by the movie, so much as how many of you don't understand sarcasm. 4 stars
1/23/13 Dave Worst movie review ever. Baldwin doesn't lead the terrorist attack! He's not aware of it. 4 stars
5/15/12 Sheryl Granholm Not my favorite from Trey, but it contains what should be the USA's new national anthem. 4 stars
8/16/11 les Derka Derka,Mohammed Jihad Derka derka 4 stars
6/05/11 Piz once you get over the novelty of what you're watching, the movie is pretty shitty. 1 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef Fun take on Thunderbirds and Michael Bay. Parker & Stone score again. 4 stars
11/05/09 Paul Predictable, yet hilarious satire...MAAAAATT DAMON 5 stars
8/31/09 Robert Movie's hilarious... to the 1 stars, why go see a movie if you are offended by its content? 5 stars
3/25/09 caspian The only people who don't like this film are F.A.G s 4 stars
2/24/09 Omar Fahed I have NEVER laughed so much in my ENTIRE life. "now suck my cock" PRICELESS... 5 stars
1/31/09 Grid Should really only have been 15 minutes long 4 stars
10/03/08 yohannbiimu Best movie about 2000's America there is... 5 stars
4/14/08 Andrew I laughed my ass off at this funny crap! 5 stars
3/23/08 angus cool 5 stars
1/20/08 Bitchflaps Some very funny moments, but feels too much like one big joke that quickly wears out. 3 stars
6/24/07 kiliz take that, c*ckf@g! 5 stars
6/17/07 fools♫gold You had me at "Sacreblu!" 5 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK More deranged than a cat on smack, this film is ACE! 5 stars
2/06/07 AJ Muller What the holy hell did I just see? And am I STILL crying from laughter? 5 stars
1/06/07 Sugarfoot Not nearly as hilarious as South Park:BLU with only a couple chuckles here and there. 2 stars
11/23/06 Dark Enchantress & Jason America..F*uck yeah! So lick my ass and suck on my balls!!!! Great Movie! 5 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini The sex scenes were funny! 3 stars
10/13/06 Eric Truly Genius! I was laughing throughout the entire film, very few dry spots if any. 5 stars
9/07/06 Laura Amazingly funny movie. A Spoof on action movies...with puppets. What more could you want? 5 stars
6/04/06 jamie awsome 5 stars
5/06/06 Woza Fuck Yeh 5 stars
4/22/06 Poopy Woopy Motherfuckin hilarious 5 stars
3/24/06 Mr. Tigre If you have poo ... now is the time to fling it..! 1 stars
1/23/06 Del Fucking Puppets are hilarious. Popping a cap in F.A.G.'s rocks! 5 stars
1/14/06 chris f an absolutely shite movie worst film ive ssen in my life 1 stars
11/18/05 Team Austrlia AMERICA **** YEAH! 5 stars
11/15/05 flim expert! Quite possibly the best film ive ever seen 5 stars
10/26/05 Craninov the best picture of the real america we have to offer 5 stars
10/25/05 karl hunt it was briliant and i watch it over and over again and i never get bored 5 stars
10/22/05 Mike BEST MOVIE EVER! 5 stars
10/19/05 Agent Sands One of those hits that's forgotten about completely, but it's FUNNY AS HELL!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/19/05 Doug B A Neocon's wet dream: pathetic chest thumping US war-mongering pretending to be a satire. 1 stars
9/05/05 DM Very funny in places but too scattershot and anarchistic. 3 stars
8/19/05 Slash My Suck The puppets were well done, the script wasn't 3 stars
8/02/05 sbpat21 pretty damn funny... where else can you see Kim Jong Il singing? 4 stars
7/09/05 JFK great movie. Trey and matt rules 4 stars
7/09/05 Phil M. Aficionado Fair/balanced irreverent absurdity in an unprecedented technical tour de force. Top that! 5 stars
7/06/05 J One of the funniest movies of 2004. 5 stars
7/01/05 Nick is smelly Coming to save the melon farming day ...yeah 5 stars
6/24/05 Mr Fluffy Sorry guys you just lost me. And I loved South Park The Movie 3 stars
6/17/05 Indrid Cold Several absolutely hilarious moments. That alone makes it far above average. 5 stars
6/12/05 Edler You gotta wonder what North Koren intelligence thinks of this! 5 stars
6/08/05 Littlepurch Not as gd as south park movie, but that would be IMPOSSIBLE! The songs rock! 'So Ronery!' 5 stars
6/05/05 Matt Parker A BITCHIN MOVIE AND A MUST SEEE! 5 stars
6/05/05 Mark Radburn Team America is F******* Awesome 5 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW Not Parker and Stone's best, but still highly enjoyable and entertaining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
5/31/05 Sgt Slaughter Very Funny, HoweverI found myself disturbed by Gary's face. America, Fuck Yea!! 4 stars
5/21/05 Fionn Burr. Brilliant movie. I have never laughed so much. It was such a clever and funny film. 5 stars
5/20/05 The Mockingbird sometimes you can have too much puppet sex and too little criticism 4 stars
5/19/05 evil a must see for all the scumbags. 1 stars
5/18/05 Gina I like it, its pretty funny 4 stars
4/28/05 Jason This movie ROCKS! 5 stars
4/26/05 louis the song: everybody has AIDS is all I need to say, WOW 5 stars
4/16/05 Jane Muhawi Pretty embarrasing, maybe libelolus 2 stars
4/16/05 Hilary Harry A Must See For Parker/Stone Fans 5 stars
3/04/05 Chris Stephens MUST SEE 4 stars
2/10/05 Al Guy Screw the politics, puppets are funny. 5 stars
2/08/05 aryips there r 3 type of people D*ick Pu**y and AssH**e....... huhu.... 5 stars
2/06/05 durka durka f ck yeah best sh t ever watch it stoned 5 stars
2/04/05 Eva Braun It was scrumtralescent. 5 stars
1/30/05 Daveman Mostly conservative propaganda, although the sex and vomiting is the stuff of comic genius. 3 stars
1/23/05 Simba such a great movie 5 stars
1/23/05 cel FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER 5 stars
1/22/05 Mangs Worse film ever! 1 stars
1/21/05 Brandon D. I LOVE THIS MOVIE....it better come out on DVD though 5 stars
1/21/05 keithers.. i love how comedy is getting dumber 2 stars
1/21/05 Sas so funny and so true. Loved the sound track too! 5 stars
1/18/05 Graham Satire on politically ignorant H'wood assholes by politically ignorant H'wood assholes. 3 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson T.P. AND M.S. HAVE DONE IT AGAIN! Their greatest and funniest film since S.P.B.L.&U. 5 stars
1/09/05 Daniel Blyden nuff joke 5 stars
1/01/05 Sasha Tsiaparis it was sick i loved the matt damon bits 5 stars
12/31/04 Max Are you serious? 1 stars
12/26/04 Steve Much funnier that I expected it to be. 5 stars
12/10/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Like vomitting marionettes but not fart humor? EricD, you're bizarre! 4 stars
12/09/04 Giuseppe The swearing is overdone but it's entertaining overall. The puppets and sets look great! 4 stars
12/08/04 Paddy Ross The cleverest film I've seen in ages 5 stars
12/06/04 Tasha BETTER THAN GREAT 5 stars
12/05/04 keithers.. I love it when people Give Saving Private Ryan a bad rating and give this an awesome rating 1 stars
12/03/04 matthew smith I was never expected to laugh so much, hilarious 5 stars
11/24/04 Abbath Some very funny bits, others that fall flat on their face. 3 stars
11/23/04 Max Lethal I kept waiting to laugh out loud. The puppet gag wears off quickly. Great satire though. 3 stars
11/22/04 vincent bronson great flick! 5 stars
11/21/04 Trevor This movie kicked ass I was laughing so hard I was having trouble breathing 5 stars
11/21/04 Daveman Juvenile bullshit from a pair of dimwitted, libertarian tossers, funny in parts though. 2 stars
11/17/04 Jews for Hitler Something to offend everyone! 5 stars
11/16/04 A All in all a funny movie, worth to see if you want to laugh. 4 stars
11/16/04 Holly This is the best comedy I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
11/09/04 Luke Stednick THIS MOVIE KICKED ASS 5 stars
11/09/04 Lucy hilarious 5 stars
11/09/04 nimrod Funniest Movie I've ever seen, convinved me to vote for Bush 5 stars
11/08/04 Dave A worst movie I've seen in 20 years 1 stars
11/08/04 I-lean Hilarious 5 stars
11/07/04 Seena pointless 1 stars
11/07/04 Monday Morning OK but a letdown. Several current tv shows are better, and I don't mean South Park. 3 stars
11/06/04 Connie highly recommended 5 stars
11/06/04 John Lau Awesome 5 stars
11/04/04 TheKingMob heavy handed politics, bad jokes. if you find puppets funny, go see it, otherwise dont 2 stars
11/03/04 Josh Standlee If you love America, which should be most of you, see this movie! Fuck yeah! 5 stars
11/03/04 Larry Hayes funny, too much vulgaiity, sex scene funny but was there a story? 2 stars
11/02/04 Jews for Hitler Genius! 5 stars
11/02/04 Al Guy Puppets are funny, no matter what they do! 5 stars
11/02/04 Marty brilliant, intelligent, damn funny, they proved once again how sharp and clever they are. 5 stars
11/01/04 Pat Most cogent explanation of world politics I have yet seen 4 stars
10/31/04 Evan Funny as hell 5 stars
10/30/04 Cinci Grl Funny Funny Funny 5 stars
10/30/04 Los-Man Not "G"-String Puppets, rather Rated "R" String Puppets! 3 stars
10/29/04 Agent Sands I've never used the term laugh-a-minute so literally before seeing this hilarious movie. 5 stars
10/29/04 Jack Bourbon The hippies are commies 5 stars
10/28/04 mr_khan87 wana see the film 5 stars
10/27/04 James killer 4 stars
10/26/04 theplaya friggin hilarious 5 stars
10/26/04 Kevin So many laughs - the hilarious sex scene #1- the vomit scene gets my vote for #2 5 stars
10/26/04 Dawn Hilarious! We need to learn not to take ourselves so seriously. It's a comedy after all! 5 stars
10/25/04 Sheila Crowson Hell-harry-ass, must own soundtrack. Might pee in your pants. 5 stars
10/25/04 Russel This was one of the best movies i had ever seen. It was hilarious and very smart.Go see it. 5 stars
10/24/04 Brian Anderson Like most Americans, Trey Parker is moderate and spoofs both extremes. EFC doesn't get it. 5 stars
10/23/04 ODH Sick, perverted, offensive, and SIMPLY HILARIOUS!!! 4 stars
10/22/04 your worst goddamn nightmare I'd love to have a beer w/ Trey & Matt. These guys are fuckin' hilarious. 4 stars
10/22/04 bobbi Would have been good without the pointless (6th grade level)vulgarity and profanity jokes 3 stars
10/21/04 simba funnies movie, i loved it!!! 5 stars
10/20/04 Danny I't was OUTSTANDING! I'm listning to the soundtrack right now. very funny. and brilliant!!! 5 stars
10/20/04 Nessus Fantastic parody that pokes fun at the left, right, and action movies. 5 stars
10/20/04 LoudChris Great flick, but a little lacking in comedic pacing. 4 stars
10/20/04 Steve Kelley Try to find another movie that makes you laugh as hard. You can't. 5 stars
10/19/04 desertdwlr i laffed my fu*kin balls off-- fu*k yeah 5 stars
10/19/04 Amy Levine sexsy 5 stars
10/19/04 Stephanie Newberg The movie was absolutely hilarious, but still made a very valid point. 5 stars
10/19/04 Al Glow I laughed, I cried. So very funny 5 stars
10/19/04 Tommy A must see. So funny you cant possibly stop laughing. 5 stars
10/19/04 MMoore Absolutely vulgar and funniest movie ever.... 5 stars
10/19/04 Ray Raspberry terrible -- laughs few and far between... don't be fooled. 2 stars
10/19/04 Brian K agreed. Refreshingly smart and entertaining. 5 stars
10/19/04 Clarance the Cobra You had me at, "Dicks fuck Assholes" 5 stars
10/19/04 Corvus This is SOOO FUNNY, especially if you're smart enough to get it. 5 stars
10/18/04 EPaddy Random ass fun, go into it with an open mind 4 stars
10/18/04 Assya Moussaid GODDAM IT'S GREAT!!!! 5 stars
10/18/04 665 221 5 stars
10/18/04 Hank Frank very funny, vulgar, wonderful. 5 stars
10/18/04 Greg AWESOME 5 stars
10/18/04 Shamus worth the price of admission and then some. Durka Durka... 5 stars
10/18/04 Dean Awesome 5 stars
10/18/04 yourmom ebert said it best: "nihilistic". ugh... 3 stars
10/18/04 CyberBabe America! Fuck YEAH! XD That movie was hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing! 5 stars
10/18/04 Gary Gonna save the world...Fuck yah 3 stars
10/18/04 Cat Willie Fuck'n Awesome - Fuck Yeah! 5 stars
10/18/04 Cheesehead Steve fuckin awesome! 5 stars
10/18/04 BrianWilly FUNNIEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN this year. 5 stars
10/18/04 Ricardo Good song. The story is frankly boring. Political correctness is mildly disguised. 1 stars
10/18/04 Metalhed TEAM AMERICA! F|_|CK YEAH! I LAUGHED MY A$$ OFF! 5 stars
10/17/04 nick this movie is so fuckin hilarious puppet porn durka durka mohammed g ha 5 stars
10/17/04 Kellian It was very good. Some parts were a little uncalled for or uneeded to make the film funny. 4 stars
10/17/04 Lord Mike Shoe We were impressed. Very funny, very vulgar. Profanity laden. 5 stars
10/17/04 Dr. M Fantastic. Would love to secretly video tape republicans and fundamentalists watching it. 5 stars
10/17/04 LiberalsSuck I loved this move it was fricken awesome, especially the music 5 stars
10/17/04 Kyle F IT WAS GREAT 5 stars
10/17/04 Heather Can only be taken in a "tongue in cheek" sort of humor 5 stars
10/17/04 Meg absolutly hilarious 5 stars
10/17/04 G.M. Great Film! Funny and dead on the money! 5 stars
10/17/04 RaDMaN Well these puppets are actually called "animatronics"...small motors inside..but it suked 1 stars
10/17/04 Frank Gibson The movie wasn't half as good as the South Park Movie...To much noise, heavy humor... 2 stars
10/17/04 Nathan Very accurate, good philosophy 5 stars
10/16/04 Titus Damned funny, but somehow still kinda hollow 4 stars
10/16/04 Doug Glass A must see - Funniest movie I have seen in a long time 5 stars
10/16/04 KingNeutron I guess Kim Jong was just a "puppet" dictator all along! 4 stars
10/16/04 Big Daddy Well worth the 7 dollars. One of the best flicks this year! 4 stars
10/16/04 Bruce Kaufman Fabulously Hilarious! 5 stars
10/16/04 George Jung "I don't wanna fuck your mouth, Gary." 4 stars
10/16/04 joette gibson kick-ass, must see, right on target 5 stars
10/16/04 patrick grattan This is THE funniest movie have seen in a long time.It pushes the envelope to the extreme! 5 stars
10/16/04 John P Sex & Vomit Scenes: I laughed so hard & long, my eyes teared up and I could barely breathe. 5 stars
10/16/04 E Ramos Still laughing too hard to comment... 5 stars
10/16/04 Rob Every line was a spot-on parady...most of you won't get it. 5 stars
10/16/04 Mahone I laughed till I began coughing and tears came out of my eyes 5 stars
10/16/04 nick2k very different indeed...but funny for sure! 5 stars
10/16/04 bullit16 I was in tears from laughing so hard 4 stars
10/16/04 Ajax FUCK YEAH! 5 stars
10/15/04 gray It was fun but missing somthing 4 stars
10/15/04 George Jung "I don't wanna fuck your mouth, Gary." 4 stars
10/15/04 Kris I'm so ronely 5 stars
10/13/04 Alex Superb 5 stars
10/12/04 Ulatekk Genius. My face hurt from laughing. 5 stars
10/12/04 tim a masterpiece 5 stars
10/11/04 Nathan One of the funniest films I have ever seen! 5 stars
10/11/04 SweetNeo85 Team America: F&CK YEAH 5 stars
10/10/04 jose consuerto Quite possibly the greatest piece of art ever made by a man. 5 stars
10/10/04 Canadian Eh A South Park episode with marionnettes : funny ! 4 stars
10/10/04 stinky bum finger the 2nd greatest movie ever 5 stars
10/10/04 ajay I thought the puppet thing would get old, but this movie is VERY funny. 5 stars
10/10/04 Speedy Great movie, f'ing hilarious. 5 stars
10/10/04 Dammit Cubs ...there is no word to describe my joy. 5 stars
10/10/04 Susan Salisbury Very Funny, but definitely earned its R rathing 5 stars
10/10/04 MovieGuy Great movie 5 stars
10/10/04 Robert Snook Freaking hilarious, t.v. commercials don't look funny, but trust me, this movie is great 5 stars
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  15-Oct-2004 (R)
  DVD: 17-May-2005



Directed by
  Trey Parker
  Matt Stone

Written by
  Trey Parker
  Matt Stone
  Pam Brady

  Trey Parker
  Matt Stone
  Dian Bachar
  Kristen Miller
  Phil Hendrie
  David Michie

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