A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to that although kids who watch South Park might be intrigued by this raunchy, over-the-top puppet action comedy from the show's creators, it's absolutely not age-appropriate for young viewers. The fact that all of the characters are marionettes -- and that all of the situations are played for comedy -- doesn't change the fact that the graphic violence and sex scenes are meant for adults only. Characters are shot, blown up, decapitated, sliced in half, and burned; in the sex scenes, they're shown fully naked engaged in very explicit acts. Plus, the language is vulgar to the extreme, there's drinking and smoking, and a fair bit of the humor relies on jokes that could be considered homophobic (for example, an organization based on the Screen Actors Guild is called the Film Actors Guild so it can have the initials F.A.G.).
Much like Matt and Trey's other works, this is a brilliant satire that's more intelligent than most haters realize
What's the story?
Inspired by Thunderbirds, a 1960s British children's TV show, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE follows the adventures of five all-American, good-looking heroes who are masters of everything from kick-boxing to rocket science and can toss off brave wisecracks while gunning down evil-doers. Their cool clubhouse inside Mount Rushmore has every kind of transportation and weapon system, as well as a swinging cocktail lounge. When one of the team is killed, team leader Spottswoode recruits an actor. Gary, star of the hit Broadway musical Lease (with the showstopping final number "Everyone Has AIDS!"), is brought on board because, apparently, the most important skill for fighting terrorism is acting ability. At first Gary says no, but there's something about saving the world -- or maybe just something about team member Lisa -- that makes him change his mind. Meanwhile, Kim Jong Il is plotting total world domination, and a bunch of Hollywood celebrities think they have the solution for world peace.
Is it any good?
South Park's creators have made a fabulously intricate puppet world here, with replicas of iconic monuments from Mount Rushmore and the Sphinx to the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal. And the duo takes such pleasure in being naughty that it makes their work more silly than smutty. In their best work, the outrageousness is in aid of a statement, a sharp attack, so that the four-letter words and cheerful bad taste transcend their schoolyard shock value to work as satire. But when there's no special point of view and they just decide to bash everyone on all sides, it runs out of steam quickly.
This latest venture would have made a hilarious 15-minute short, but at feature length it gets repetitive and tiresome. When the movie is good, it's very funny. But Stone and Parker go after everyone here -- people who want to fight terrorists, people who don't want to fight terrorists, people who are terrorists, and people who just have really, really inflated senses of their importance in the world. And so the satire is too scattershot to sustain the film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what point the film is trying to make. Who is it really mocking? What are the filmmakers saying about celebrities who speak out on politics?
- In theaters: October 15, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: May 17, 2005
- Cast: Kristen Miller, Matt Stone, Trey Parker
- Director: Trey Parker
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language; all involving puppets
For kids who love comedy and action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.