Team America: World Police - What ever happened to them being funny?
| For months I have eagerly anticipated what Matt Stone and Trey Parker could pull off with all the absurdity that is the so called debate in the US over the so called war on terror in their marionette film Team America: World Police. After all, these are the minds who have made a career out of mocking absurdity and turned their clever South Park series into what turned out to be a fairly brilliant film. Also Matt Stone displayed a great deal of analysis and insight in his musings in the film Bowling for Columbine. Surely these guys are going to be able to make us laugh at ourselves and our own ridiculous behaviour.
However, as the lights came up in the cinema an eerie sense of great disappointment came over me. These guys had let us down.
First of all, I realized that I had only laughed sparingly through the film and worse, a few times I had looked at my watch. What good is satire that bores? I laugh more during a half hour of South Park than I did through this entire film.
Second, and even more disappointing, I found that their humour had changed. Instead of getting us to laugh at ourselves, this film's approach to humour is much more about laughing at others. It's that cheep way to get laughs that is all about making yourself feel better because someone else is held up to ridicule. They also employ a great of supposed gross out humour. Instead of deriving wit from deconstructing our neuroses, they simply make fat jokes, blow up a lot of heads, and make puppets vomit. A 5 year old might find this stuff funny but the MPAA won't let them in.
Even the much hyped puppet sex scene is a big let down. There is nothing shocking or even remotely funny about the sex. It's embarrassingly boring. I could get more laughs with a naked Barbie and Ken. Oh look! The puppets are doing it from behind! Now they 69! Come on guys, you are so much more clever than this.
So much of the humour is nonsensical. There is a running gag where a Matt Damon puppet keeps repeating his own name as if he can't say anything else. What does this mean? Maybe Stone and Parker have finally gone over my head. Or maybe they just ran out of funny things to do.
The film isn't all bad. The Kim Jong Il puppet is hysterical every time he's on screen. Also, the music is hilarious. Songs like "America, Fuck Yeah" and "Pearl Harbour Sucked" remind us of the days when these guys new how to be subversive and inspired. Too bad the rest of the movie is spent just being silly. So let the adolescent boys sneak into this film. They will be the only ones satisfied. Anyone wanting more bite to their humour will have to look elsewhere.