directed by Matt Stone and Trey Parker
Low brow lunacy, dick humor, and puppets may render the satire of Team America: World Police hard to uncover, but genius satire, no matter the costume, is still genius satire. And leave it to the kings of contemporary intellectual critique disguised as basement level crassness, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, to craft a tale so pointed and telling that, to sit in an auditorium full of “regular folks” as they jeered and hollered was enough to make me cringe. The same idiotic Southpark fans too stupid to get the joke flocked to Team America and laughed for all the wrong reasons (America’s ignorance of the Middle East, America’s bigoted portrayal of all Middle Eastern people as “dirka dirka” speaking Jihadists, America’s lust of ‘involvment’ in beeswax that isn’t ours, etc), and I couldn’t help but feel the wave of joy at Parker and Stone’s success mingled with the sharp sting of realizing that the joke proved, potentially, too successful. I felt the same effect in 2006 as morons all across this fair nation piled in to unwittingly laugh at their own ignorance in Sascha Baron Cohen’s amazing fake doc, Borat, but in 2004, Team America lambasted all sides evenly, skewering conservatives, liberals, idiots and intellectuals with a scorpion tail of comedic commentary. Plot time: A team of elite American freedom fighters must stop North Korea’s evil plot to destroy the world. The film is filled with so much wrong that it reaches a level most satires can only hope to achieve, the level where the morons being lambasted are laughing riotously, unwittingly, at their own expense.
Funny note: In college, I remember sitting in one of my literature classes (English was my major, btw) the Monday after this film premiered, surrounded by hipsters and pretentious douche bags as they ridiculed this film for its low humor and the infamous sex scene. When it came time for me to chime in with my two cents, I told the teacher that I thought it was one of the most important films of the year, and perhaps the decade. The class braced themselves to join in with the teacher in mocking me, but my teacher, in all his infinite wisdom, agreed, and ordered the film be viewed as homework! Take that, pretentious Donnie Darko watching, David Lynch loving film geeks. Fuck yeah!