Team America: World Police

Here to save the motherfuckin' day.
"Putting the F Back in Freedom."

Hi gang, and welcome back to The Tagline. Originally I had intended to review a different movie tonight, but the recent withdrawal from theaters of The Interview, followed by the withdrawal by Paramount of Team America: World police, prompted me to change my plans, and instead review Team America, which I realized I had not done. If you find that offensive somehow, the idea of me reviewing a movie where a team of American puppets attempt to thwart the plans of terrorists and Kim Jong Il to blow up the world, well fuck you, too bad. Here at the Tagline we don't respond to threats, only generous bribes. Since Paramount and Sony have refused my generous offers to be bribed, I will instead review the greatest masterpiece in puppet existence, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE. From the genius duo that brought us South Park, Orgazmo, and who starred in BASEketball, the thing my girlfriend always gets mixed up with actual basketball, Team America is the movie that Matt and Trey said they weren't going to make. After the South Park movie, the guys were pretty disdainful about doing another movie. Despite this, they were inspired apparently by how stupid the idea of The Day After Tomorrow was, and originally planned to re-shoot the whole movie only in puppet form. They were informed that this could have legal difficulties, so instead they opted to just make a puppet movie that was a send up of all manner of big action movies. Team America is about a stage actor named Gary who is recruited to be part of Team America, an elite Thunderbirds-esque team that fights terrorists around the world, by shooting them and blowing them up and stuff. Awesome right?

Well sure until the team faces their GREATEST THREAT EVER. Gary is recruited to be an infiltrator, using his acting skills to pretend to be a terrorist puppet. Of course the real question is, will the team be able to stop the terrorist plot, and the scheming of Kim Jong Il, who has "a reary good pran". The first thing you have to understand about this film, if you have not seen it, is that the entire thing is shot with puppets. Not stop animation or something, just puppets bouncing around on strings. This is a movie written as an action drama, but with those puppets dancing around. It sounds funny, but in practice it is way funnier than you would even imagine, for reasons I can't entirely explain. Also, because it is created by Matt and Trey, it has to include a bunch of doofy ass songs, and so it does, such classics as "Montage", which is also used on an episode of South Park, and "Freedom isn't Free", which I think is actually my favorite song in the whole movie (freedom costs a buck oh fiiiiiiiive). This is the sort of thing you really come to appreciate and accept about anything these two do after a while, and I just kind of go with it at this point.

Okay that's pretty offensive I guess.
The movie takes cheap shots at a lot of groups and also individuals, and I'm glad and you should be too because why not, it's funny. Prominent among these are obviously Kim Jong Il, and also a lot of celebrities, including Arec Barrwin, who is worthless I have heard (in another song of course). Most notably, Matt Damon's puppet has no lines, except repeating its name (Maaat Damon). This was purportedly because the puppet for his character came out deformed and they didn't have time to fix it. That's offensive, but its funny still. That's the whole movie basically. Being offended by stereotypes, but accepting that a lot of these same absurd stereotypes exist in other movies, only not as a joke, and less blatantly because they are not all puppets. Also there is a sex scene between two of the puppets that had to be pared down significantly (the original take is on the DVD) so that the movie could not get a NC-17 rating. I think given the amount of people exploding that goes on in live action movies, that is absolutely ridiculous, but that's the country we live in.

Soooo ronery.
At the same time, you get something out of the movie, which is that, while Team America is belligerent, kind of dumb, and generally cause a lot of collateral damage, they're generally good guys and they do save the day... mostly. Is that a metaphor for the real America? WELL MAYBE IT COULD HAVE BEEN but apparently now when people on the internet issue vague threats, we all fucking hide in our houses. Gary wouldn't have hidden in his house, he would have blown a guy to prove how serious he was about fighting for freedom. If you believe in the American dream of liberty, sportsmanship and books, then you should check out Team America, which of course is on Netflix. That's it for this week, Join me next week as I unveil my terrible Christmas surprise!

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