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Team America: World Police (****)
Directed by Trey Parker
Written by Pam Brady, Tray Parker, and Matt Stone
Principal Cast
Trey Parker -- Gary Johnston/Joe/Hans Blix/Kim Jong Il/Carson/Drunk/Tim Robbins/Sean Penn/Michael Moore/Helen Hunt (voice)
Matt Stone -- Chris/George Clooney/Others (voice)
Kristen Miller -- Lisa (voice)
Masasa -- Sarah (voice)
Daran Norris -- Spottswoode (voice)
Phil Hendrie -- Intelligence (voice)
Maurice LaMarche -- Alec Baldwin (voice)
Chelsea Magritte -- French Mother (voice)
Jeremy Shada -- Jean Francois (voice)
Fred Tatasciore -- Samuel L. Jackson (voice)
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Team America: World Police I laughed out loud. That's a good thing. It doesn't happen often at movies, probably because I do not find human bodily fluids automatically hilarious. It has been a long time since I've seen a film in theaters as funny as, say, Buster Keaton in Our Hospitality.

I was sorry to see so many liberal critics upset that Trey Parker is an equal opportunity offender. Come on, guys, where would we liberals be without our sense of humor? (If you think you're not a liberal, look the word up in the dictionary. I dare you.) Discussions on the web, where people should be cool enough to know better, take the politics in the film way too seriously. There is truth here. A really funny joke almost always has a hidden truth at its core. My favorite jokes (by Harris) shows two mathematicians standing in front of a blackboard with equations written on it. One of them is about to punch the other in the nose, and is saying, "You want proof! I'll give you proof." Truth wrapped in gold leaf with a wedge of lemon, ready to beat your brains out. But the truth behind Team America is not the literal truth. The puppet Sean Penn is not supposed to represent the real Sean Penn. The puppet Michael Moore is not supposed to represent the real Michael Moore. If I really have to spell it out, in both cases the puppet represents the media image, not the man. We already know Sean Penn was pissed, but I suspect Michael Moore was pleased. He seems to me a person big enough to laugh at himself.

The puppet work is excellent, decades beyond Thunderbirds. The puppet special effects are amazing, the emotions the puppets are able to evoke even more so. The strangest thing about Team America: World Police is that, even though you know that the movie is a send-up of movie clichés, you are so conditioned after seeing a zillion movies that the clichés still genuinely move you. For a while there, the climactic speech really seems to make sense. Then you wake up and realize you've been had.

No credit cookies, but a nice credit song that isn't in the film proper. Did I mention that the music is great, especially Kim Jong Il singing "I'm Wonewy"?

Copyright © 2004 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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